Benefits of mindful yoga for teenagers

Starting yoga and mindfulness as a teen has two great advantages: One, there are immediate benefits that help manoeuvre through adolescence and help in daily life. Two, this foundation and knowledge remains available for the rest of life!

Here are a few benefits of mindful yoga for teenagers:

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

Strength Builds strength in deep muscles and subtle muscles
Improves endurance
Flexibility Stretches and lengthens muscles and soft tissues
Increases mobility and range of motion in the joints
Encourages a healthy approach towards flexibility
Posture Promotes growth of bone density
Teaches understanding of body mechanics and healthy movement patterns
Improves understanding of postural alignment
Increases muscle tone
Relaxation Calms nervous system and develops the skill of physical relaxation
Improves stress-management and lowers hormonal stress-levels (adrenaline, cortisol, catecholamines)
Improves sleep
Body Awareness Encourages awareness of breath to reflect state of mind
Cultivates ability to relax, focus and be present
Stability & Balance        Trains the body to rebalance and feel grounded, anchored
Develops coordination and focus
Energy Regulates energy levels and increases vitality
Improves blood circulation and respiration
Creates harmony, revitalising low energy and tempering hyperactivity
Strengthens immune system

MENTAL & EMOTIONAL BENEFITS

Stress Management       Enables to feel some space around issues and concerns
Offers techniques to calm the nervous system and steady the busy mind
Decision Making Encourages to make choices that respect oneself and others
Inspires mental clarity and strength
Concentration Trains the ability to focus and concentrate
Body Image Encourages to appreciate uniqueness and variety
Provides a strengthened internal perspective
Helps to develop healthy self-image
Levels media and other cultural influences
Acceptance Cultivates appreciation for one’s own body
Encourages being less self-critical and judgmental of others
Increases self-confidence and trust
Curiosity Promotes healthy exploration and considered risk taking
Creativity Enhances creativity, imagination and inspiration
Mental Relaxation  Promotes mindfulness, appreciation of the present moment
Increases awareness of the importance of relaxation
Elevates mood and feelings of contentment

SOCIAL & SPIRITUAL BENEFITS

Compassion                  Inspires kindness, compassion, honesty, curiosity and nonviolence
Connection Cultivates a healthy relationship with ourselves
Cultivates a healthy relationship with others and the world around
Meaning Inspires insight into purpose or meaning in life
Presence Promotes awareness of the preciousness of life in each moment
Encourages emotional connectivity
Offers alternatives for numbness and drama
Intuition Encourages self-knowledge
Promotes innate inner wisdom
Relating                        Develops confidence to build healthy relationships
Teaches how to respond rather than react
Community Creates community and new friendships
Promotes self-acceptance and acceptance of others
Inspires empathy and interest in connection with others
Anti-Anxiety Enables you to better manage and cope with difficult situations
Promotes emotional awareness
Helps deal with fear of judgment and rejection
Peer Pressure Builds value for one self and appreciation of uniqueness
Non-Violence Promotes acceptance, empathy, connection
Increases awareness of your own violent tendencies

Adapted from YogaMinded

Research evidence

There are a growing numbers of studies available on the positive effects of yoga and mindfulness for example researchers find that those children who participated in the .b mindfulness programme reported fewer depressive symptoms, lower stress and greater wellbeing than the young people in the control group. Approximately 80% of the young people said they continued using practices taught in MiSP’s mindfulness curriculum after completing the nine week programme. Teachers and schools also rated the curriculum as worthwhile and very enjoyable to learn and teach. (Source)

 

Research & Articles – Yoga for Teens:

• Article by Wei (2015) published on Psychology Today: 7 Ways Yoga Helps Children and Teens »
• Research by Felver, Butzer, Olson, Smith & Khalsa (2015): Yoga in Public School Improves Adolescent Mood and Affect »
• Research by Dariotis, Mirabal-Beltran, Cluxton-Keller, Feagans Gould, Greenberg & Mendelson (2015): A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Learning and Skills Use in a School-Based Mindfulness and Yoga Program »
• Research by Conboy, Noggle, Frey, Kudesia & Khalsa (2013) published in Journal of Developmental & Behavioural Paediatrics: Qualitative Evaluation of a High School Yoga Program: Feasibility an Perceived Benefits »
•  University of Utrecht, Influence of yoga on the minds of young people »
•  MNT, Yoga May Help Prevent Adolescent Mental Problems »
•  Harvard University Study, Yoga for anxiety and depression »
•  NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies on yoga »

 

Research & Articles – Mindfulness for Teens:

•  Universities of Exeter and Southampton, Evidence for the Impact of Mindfulness on Children and Young People »
•  British Journal of Psychiatry, Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools (.b) Programme »
•  Gestalt Review, Teaching Mindfulness to Children
•  University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mindfulness training can help reduce stress and burnout »
•  MindfulSchools.org, Mindfulness Studies »
•  Mindfulness in Schools (.b), Research & Evidence on Mindfulness in Schools »

 

What students say

This is some of the feedback we received:

Yoga really helps me to unwind and calm down when I am stressed. – Jen, 15

After mindfulness I feel very peaceful for the rest of the day. The stress at school doesn’t get to me as much as it usually does. – Alex, 15

Even though I sometimes feel sleepy after yoga, it is so much easier to focus in the next class. It just happens automatically, I like it. – Chloe, 16

I have noticed that I feel stronger in my body and more flexible. I find it cool, it gives me confidence. – Sarah, 14

Sometimes, when I am worried before an exam or when I am angry, I remind myself to count my breath and feel into my feet. It helps me to calm down and to take things easy. – Ahmed, 14

I’ve never liked that I am not very flexible. In our yoga class I saw that many people are not flexible like me. Now I feel that it’s actually ok and I don’t have to stress myself with wanting to be different. I guess it will change over time anyway if I keep doing yoga. – Ella, 15

I am often tired and sleepy. After yoga I feel well rested and have a lot of energy for the rest of the school day. – Yasmin, 16

At the beginning of a class we talk a bit about our day. Veronika makes us work but in a fun way, and I love the stories she tells us. She is fun. – Sophie, 13

Teen Yoga Benefits