Yoga for Teenagers

A classroom with children's drawings on the wall and sand tracked in onto the carpet from tiny tennis shoes may not sound like the idea space to center 20 teenagers - but that is exactly what we did!

A classroom with children’s drawings on the wall and sand tracked onto the carpet from tiny tennis shoes may not sound like the idea space to center 20 teenagers – but that is exactly what we did! Special thanks to Manduka for providing the mats!

2013 has gotten off to a great start! My intention for this year is to bring yoga to people where ever they are and no matter their age, budget, or body type. The good folks at Manduka have helped me make good on this by providing 20 of their awesome mats! Their generosity could not have come at a better time as I was recently asked to teach an amazing group of teens at Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I normally have a few jitters about teaching a new class, but teaching to teens made me extremely nervous! They can spot BS from a mile away and tend to shut down when they think an adult is not truly understanding their needs. With this in mind I set my intention to be as honest and authentic with them as possible. Although this was not my first class with the under 18 crowd (I taught middle school yoga for two semesters at New Roads School) it was still a challenge.

I decided to open the class by first asking what they knew about yoga and how they could benefit from it? From there I just dove in with my truth – I started yoga to help with my anxiety.

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What Brings You to the Mat?

So excited to be a new Manduka Ambassador and to share some thoughts that have come about with (in my opinion) the obsession with asana. For many of us yoga has become a source of not only physical wellness but also mental and emotional wellness.

“To be honest, at one point in my practice, I bought into the idea that an “advanced” practice consisted of jumping back to chaturunga or effortlessly floating up into handstand in the center of the room. These movements require much focus and strength, but wasn’t I already demonstrating those qualities in chair pose or by sticking to my mediation practice twice a day? The feeling of wanting to recreate postures I’d seen on magazine covers came to an end upon learning that many of my favorite cover yogis had regular chiropractic appointments or were nursing injured shoulders and bulging discs.. It was not a moment of judgement but more of a wake up call that there is more to this practice than posing.”

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Regardless of what brought you to the mat for the first time, continue to show up and remember that asana is only ONE of the eight limbs of this practice.