Top 4 Benefits of Yoga for Tweens and Teens
By Boluwatife Ajayi, contributing writer
The teenage years are hard.
We have all been there, and many of you may be parents of tweens and teens. Or, perhaps you’re a middle-school or high school teacher.
Either way, the teenage years are some of the best years – and the worst. This is the time when we discover things about ourselves, move through awkward changes, embrace opportunities, and deal with social and personal challenges. It’s also the time when we deal with high school peer pressure, college applications, and academic demands. What does this mean? A whole lotta teenage stress!
And we hear you: Dealing with teens is overwhelming, especially during a global pandemic!
Yet, there are ways to help your teens navigate anxiety and difficult times. Read on to learn more about the benefits of yoga for teens.
Yoga for Tweens and Teens Helps Cultivate Self-Control
For starters, studies have shown that yoga helps teens manage stress. In fact, according to an article in Psychology Today, more than 1.7 million children and teens practice yoga.
Not only that, but yoga for teens is important for developing brains. According to that same article in Psychology Today, the prefrontal cortex of the brain (behind the forehead and known for its ability to plan, organize, and regulate mood) gives you the ability to concentrate and think, rather than act on impulse. This is important when it comes to successfully navigating academics and relationships.
In addition, Psychology Today states: “MRI studies have found that the first growth spurt of synapse formation in the prefrontal cortex occurs as a baby, and the second spurt of synapse formation occurs right before puberty, around age 11 in girls and 12 in boys. Learning is consolidated afterwards during adolescence through synaptic pruning—a weeding out process in which weak connections are plucked off and other connections are strengthened.”
Indeed, when teens and tweens practice yoga during these formative years, they can cultivate important skills like creativity, flexibility, self-control and discipline.
For all the reasons above, many schools have been advised to include mindfulness and physical fitness in their curriculums. And, more and more school teachers and parents alike are learning how to teach simple yoga and mindfulness activities in classes or in the home.
Now it’s time to dive in and take a closer look at 4 reasons why yoga is beneficial for teens and tweens:
1. Asana improves fitness and physical health
Students participating in yoga develop a strong connection to their bodies and their minds. Some yoga poses help improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Still other yoga poses can help detoxify the body and improve the immune system. And, practicing yoga regularly can enhance an overall fitness routine.
2. It improves self-esteem, confidence, and body image
The teenage years are a critical time when adolescents often struggle with body image issues, peer pressure, and bullying. Yoga creates an accepting and safe environment, rooted in the principle of non-judgment. Plus, yoga helps you feel more connected to your body. With connection comes acceptance.
There is no such thing as the perfect body. Instead, mindfulness helps you accept your own uniqueness and abilities. Take a look at 3 poses that help increase self-confidence and boost self-esteem:
3. Yoga improves focus and academic performance
With emotions all over the place, teenagers can suffer from a lack of focus, leading to increased stress. Not only that but Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common developmental disorders in adolescents – affecting one in 10 children.
Teenagers, in particular, are constantly preparing for exams, school assignments, projects and research papers. Practicing yoga helps defuse this academic stress and helps teens focus when taking tests and prioritizing school work.
4. Practicing yoga reduces stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand with the teenage years. Luckily, as we’ve pointed out above, meditation and movement can help teens and tweens diffuse and manage stressful times.
To boot, this can help teens sleep better, which can help improve your mood!
How to Help Teens Practice Yoga
Have you considered learning to teach kids yoga? What about taking a short online course on how to teach yoga to tweens and teens?
Remember: Yoga helps teens relax and also provides a safe space away from social and school pressures. It allows teens and tweens to accept and appreciate their bodies, while enhancing self-esteem. To top it off, yoga stretching and deep breathing can improve sleep. And this will help both you and your teenager de-stress. Are you ready to give yoga for teens a try?
About Boluwatife Ajayi: Boluwatife is a communications expert and freelance writer with interest in social media and blog writing. With work experience in radio, television and newspapers agencies, she brings in fresh ideas and perspectives with research to back up her work. You can connect with Boluwatife here.