As part of her studies at Kings College London, Camille conducted a research study with our Teen Yoga and Mindfulness students to determine if they were experiencing the perviously determined benefits of yoga and mindfulness. The researchers were curious to find out how this group, being unique in age and gender, experiences unique benefits from the practice. In doing so, they hoped to convey the importance of working with this group, and the potential for yoga and mindfulness to be accepted as a method to help deal with the common difficulties that teenage girls experience. Here are the results of the study:
What we found is that teen girls, especially those in high-pressure academic environments desperately need a form of stress relief to balance the pressure they feel from school, their parents, and their peers. For our students, yoga and mindfulness offered this relief.
Through a series of interviews, we asked the students about their experience in the yoga class, as well as their general experience as a female teenager. We wanted to see which areas of their life were causing the most stress, and how they felt that yoga and mindfulness had an affect on that stress.
Teens struggle with Stress at School
The interviews revealed that the young people were struggling with a number of issues, but the most common issue was stress. Each teen interviewed made reference to the extreme pressure they felt to perform academically, and how that stress was taking a toll on them.
“I think it’s the pressure and expectation, ‘cause it’s everywhere. It’s like the adults expect you to be this kind of super woman. I can’t juggle everything, and then like, your teachers expect you to revise 24/7 and to work like a robot all the time.”
Yoga Classes show Positive Impact on Teen Life
After taking part in a yoga and mindfulness course for a minimum of 8 weeks, all of the teens in the study expressed how grateful they were for the opportunity to take part in the class, and how much it had positively impacted their lives. Among the benefits reported were: dealing with and relieving stress, increased energy, improved confidence, self-acceptance, and overall positive mindset.
How Students felt impacted:
“I find it’s so calming, especially because Thursdays, they’re the most intense days for me. I have like a full time table and I usually have loads of essays due the next day. And I always leave it until the night before, and I’m just like ‘ahhh.’ I always feel better once I’ve done yoga ‘cause I just know I can face it.”
“I’m happier, I know it sounds so strange but I actually am. It’s definitely left me just like refreshed, like I can approach a tough situation a lot easier. Like I’m not stressed all the time, especially that I can now like look forward to Thursday afternoons, that really keeps me going.”
“I feel like if you have a time in your day when you can just be quiet and be just focused on one thing and just concentrate all your effort, your whole body is going towards that one move or one stretch. And you get to have that time just with yourself. You kind of pull yourself away from everything that’s going on at that time, or your phone or your computer or the drama, if you have drama in your life, you just get that time. And once you realize that that time is really actually nice to have, you kind of want more of it, and you completely pull yourself out of anything that’s negative, or not having time for yourself.”
This qualitative research study was conducted by Camille Dodson as part of her Masters studies at Kings College London, with students who have taken part in a Yoga & Mindfulness course for at least 8 weeks.
The results from the study were wonderfully encouraging about the work we do at Teen Yoga & Mindfulness. We hope they will inspire more teens to start practicing yoga and mindfulness, and for schools to consider how their students could find support and relief from pressure in the practice.
All Teen Yoga & Mindfulness programs are carefully designed to introduce the practices of yoga and mindfulness to young people. Promoting health and wellbeing, our classes include different levels of challenges as well as modifications for all abilities and gently progress over time.
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