Should we teach Yoga to our young people?

I’m writing this on the back of teaching teenagers Yoga for the first time. ┬áThis is a part of our life when Yoga can really be of help, but the pressure to ‘not be too different’ can put young people off.

To the credit of the teenagers of Praze several of them were willing to give it a try from the Youth club, Praze Youth Project. There were equal numbers of boys and girls and they gave it a go without ridiculous giggling and they listened to what they were being asked to do, showing improvement in just half an hour.

It always surprises me how stiff young people can be, but being supple and strengthening the body is only a small part of what Yoga can offer to young people. This is a time of fluctuating hormones, changing bodies and the stress of exams. Yoga can help to calm hormones and certainly helps you to be happy in your own body. As for dealing with stress, simply learning to relax is a skill well worth learning.

Of course all these life experiences can happen to us at any time of life so in fact teaching our young people some Yoga will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives. When I think about it I wonder why we wouldn’t give our children the chance of these benefits at school.

From a more personal note, my daughter is what would be classed as a pre-teen (nearly 11) and is already struggling with a combination of fluctuating hormones and the stress of SATS (stressed about exams at 11 years? I question our education system, but that’s another issue). She is regularly suffering from anxiety attacks, for no apparent reason. Clearly, as a Yoga teacher I’m well placed to help her, but she’s a little anti-yoga as I’m so into Yoga! If yoga was a small part of school life, it would be normal rather than just something your slightly eccentric Mum kept banging on about.

Anyhow, I hope I’ve maybe opened the door to Yoga for at least one young person and look forward to being invited back to Praze Youth Project for another session in the future. Thank you to the teenagers of Praze who gave it a go despite their misgivings, I thoroughly enjoyed my half hour with them.

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