Life as a teenager can be stressful, to say the least. This age group has to worry about performing well enough in school so that they can get into college. Others wonder what career path they’ll follow after graduation. Family problems, plus friendship and relationship strain, can further cause tension in teens.
For all the causes of stress in teens’ lives, they need an outlet through which they can expunge this lingering, daunting feeling. Yoga works for adults, and it can work for teens, too. In fact, it’s the perfect outlet for those within this age bracket — here’s why:
1. Yoga Reduces Stress
We’ve already touched on this topic, but yoga works as a great stress reliever for teens. With regular yoga practice, though, practitioners learn how to breathe deeply and pause their spiraling thoughts. Instead, yogis approach stressors with a level head, and they stay in the present moment rather than worrying about what-ifs. Such a skill would suit teens as they plan for the rest of their lives.
2. Yoga Hones Focus
On that note, teens are notorious for losing focus, especially in school. Perhaps they’re tired, or they can feel their smartphones buzzing in their backpack pocket. Either way, their minds are elsewhere — and this distractedness only serves to hurt their academic careers.
Yoga, as previously mentioned, helps the practitioner to lead their mind back to the present. Paying attention in class only serves pupils well, especially teens on the precipice of even tougher college coursework. So, starting a practice now can help shape more focused students.
3. Yoga Boosts Self-Esteem
A yoga practice often defies what we think to be true about the body’s abilities. Experts can bend, twist and hold insane poses that do wonders for the body. As a teenager masters more and more on the mat, they’ll feel the same exuberance.
A boost in self-esteem can do teens a wealth of good, too. The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice’s 2017 School Crime Supplement estimated that about 20 percent of students ages 12-18 had dealt with a bully. On top of that, teens tend to deal with peer pressure, as well as body image issues. Having yoga as an outlet — and a source of pride — will only help a teenage practitioner.
4. Yoga Improves Physical Fitness
Less than a quarter of American children get the recommended amount of physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They suggest that those between the ages of 6 and 17 take part in 60 minutes of exercise each day. For teens, this activity proves particularly important as their bodies begin to mature.
Yoga has plenty to offer by way of physical fitness, of course. Teens will boost their flexibility and hone their coordination, while also improving their circulation. Practicing yoga can also help teens straighten their posture — sitting in desks all day can leave them hunched. Overall, it’ll boost their physical fitness, and an hour-long class satisfies the CDC’s requirement for daily exercise, to boot.
5. Yoga Strengthens Social Connections
There are so many reasons why teens should participate in fitness-related afterschool activities. One great benefit is the fact that by joining a team or making friends in a class can help them to feel more independent from their parents.
Yoga means union in Sanskrit and, as such, promotes social connections between practitioners. If a teen attends a yoga class for students their age, then, they’re likely to find friends amongst those bending and stretching in the studio. Outside of class, they’ll have more of an open mind, too. Yoga teaches its practitioners to leave behind their judgments of others, and no one needs such a lesson more than teens. Perhaps a regular yoga practice can help teens to ditch their cliques and be nice to one another.
6. Yoga Teaches Discipline
To become better at yoga, you have to practice it regularly. Once a teenager starts to enjoy their yoga classes, they’ll probably want to continue onward with the practice so that they can get some of the tougher poses.
On that note, yoga inspires mental discipline in other ways. With yoga comes mindfulness, which means that teens will have better control over their impulses. Teenagers aren’t particularly known for their wise decision-making, but yoga can help them be more level in their approach to potential problems. Those who do yoga also tend to have more patience and stronger attention spans, traits that have clear benefits for teens, too.
Take It to the Mat
Yoga has a lot to offer to practitioners of any age. But teens are a particularly perfect group to give the calming, body-bettering practice a try. They need a stress reliever as much as they need physical activity. Plus, they can make friends and hone their focus in a time when both can be a struggle. So, ask your parents to sign you up, or bring up the idea to your teenage son or daughter. You just might find yoga to be the perfect hobby for them — or for you.