Five reasons teens should do yoga
There are so many reasons why teenagers should do yoga. But if you - or your teen - need convincing, here are five good reasons to sign up - from teen yoga instructor Emily Davies.
As a teacher of teens and tweens, Emily Davies has come to learn more than she ever imagined about the benefits of yoga for young adults. Here are her top five reasons why teens need to get into yoga.
1. Yoga is non competitive
The word yoga means union – so when a teenager comes to a yoga practice they know that they are all in it together. Yoga is also a practice – not a performance, it’s about self discovery, understanding and appreciating the person you are. It’s a journey into self love, not self adoration. Yoga encourages us to be the best versions of ourselves – regardless of what anyone else is doing.
2. Yoga takes practice
In an always on world full of notifications, on demand TV, ready meals and tonnes of instant gratification from social media, WhatsApp, and everything else from the millennial era, we can forget how to practice. We are so used to getting what we want instantly, that when we don’t, we just give up. Yoga (especially some of the more difficult poses) shows us that through practice we can reap real benefits and build a lasting and meaningful relationship with our mind, body and our hobby that no Facebook notification will ever compete with.
3. Yoga is good for the spine
Ever heard of ‘text neck’? Well, it’s a thing, and unfortunately it’s only going to get worse the younger those iPhones go into the hands of babes. The constant looking down at your phone, the constant scrolling of the right or left hand, the constant tapping or texting – and what if it’s all done one handed? Think of the muscle work taking place on one side of the body compared to the other? Yoga straightens the spine, opens the shoulders, lengthens the hamstrings and strengthens the body. It undoes all the bad work put into the posture from too much sitting on your bum and scrolling on Instagram!
4. Yoga is good for the body and mind
With yoga comes mindfulness, and a few lessons about mindfulness for teenagers never go amiss. How about the old ‘just because someone is smiling in a photograph on Instagram doesn’t mean they are happy in real life’ statement, or ‘don’t believe what you see on social media because it is a filter for real life’, or ‘don’t live your life through the internet – look up and take part in what is happening in this room now’. There are so many life lessons that yoga can teach teenagers as a means of empowering them to build a healthy relationship with the social media platforms that they use every day… because let’s face it, you can’t ban them, block them or take away their mobile phones, you’ve just got to educate them on how they can use them the right way.
5. Yoga teaches them to breathe and slow down
The benefits of conscious breathing? How long have you got because I could go on for hours! Conscious breathing slows the heart rate, calms the nervous system, can help with anxiety, stress, the digestive system – it takes us away from that ‘fight or flight’ moment that sometimes we get when we are angry, upset or shocked. Stopping and breathing is the difference between insulting a mate in the playground and not, it’s the difference between saying yes to that cigarette under peer pressure and not, it’s the difference between calling your mom a b*tch when all she’s doing is looking out for you, and not. When we stop and breathe we create time and space for the mind (and body) to handle life’s tricky situations in a more diplomatic way.
Emily teaches a yoga class for teenagers in Oxted every Thursday at 4.45pm.