Teenage is that wonderfully exciting and painfully excruciating time of our lives when so much about us is changing. This is when not just our bodies but our brains too go through a massive growth spurt, continuing to develop right into our early twenties.
Yoga and mindfulness practice during these formative years can help teens enhance their physical, mental and psychological well-being.
Here is how…
Improves Physical Health
The different yoga poses and routines not only improve physical strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination and balance but critically also help regulate hormones thus greatly improving overall physical wellbeing.
A mindful yoga practice with breath awareness triggers the relaxation response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. A calm nervous system is key to building immunity.
Better Mental Health
Yoga teaches the body and mind to relax while being active and engaged. This awareness has shown to actually change the neural pathways and rewire our brains. We learn to break away from the flight or fight response to stressful situations and deal with them in a calm and thoughtful manner.
Teens who practice yoga find that it reduces anxiety and stress, fights depression and helps regulate their moods. Yoga gives teens the space and tools to deal with everyday academic and personal pressures.
Improves Sleep and Focus
Doing yoga as little as once a week is shown to improve sleep and focus. Teens who do yoga function better in school, thanks to a rested mind and better regulated nervous system.
Teens often struggle with peer pressure, body image and low self-esteem. Yoga helps them to become aware of their amazing bodies and minds and to accept and appreciate themselves without judgement. They learn to understand their whole person, recognising their strengths and weaknesses.
Develops Discipline and Self-Regulation
The prefrontal cortex of the brain, responsible for executive functions like critical thinking and decision making, is constantly changing and growing through the teenage years. A mindfulness based yoga practice can help teens cultivate important life skills like self-control, discipline, creativity and expression.
Teens who feel good about themselves are able to connect more genuinely and warmly and fearlessly with family and friends allowing them to develop strong bonds and healthy relationships. Yoga can play a big role in this.
Yoga and mindfulness can provide teens with tools that benefit both the mind and body well beyond teenage years.