Adolescence is a time of immeasurable change. Teens are going through a number of simultaneous processes whereby their social, biological, physical, and emotional worlds are shifting. They are put under a great deal of pressure to make decisions about their future at a time when they might not be fully equipped to do so. They may be unsure of their own beliefs, values, and desires, ultimately striving to understand and develop their identity. We have found a number of studies that link yoga and identity, yoga in schools can help teens form identity
In the book, “Working with Adolescents, Constructing Identity,” John Head explores the complex world of identity formation during the teen years. He explains how schools can effectively nurture this experience.
He says that “the principle psychological task for the adolescent is to achieve a sense of personal identity.”
Head believes that a school should “promote exploration, responsible choice and self-determination by students” and that “the young person must be able to understand the alternatives, evaluate each one systematically, and feel a sense of personal control over the decisions he or she makes.”
By bringing yoga and mindfulness classes to local schools, we hope to do just that. By giving teens the space and opportunity for reflection, yoga and mindfulness can encourage the self-discovery that helps build a sense of identity. This, in turn can help them to make more clear and focused decisions about their present and future.
It’s better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection
Head also says that an “identity-curriculum promotes self-acceptance and positive feedback from teachers and counselors”. This too is one of one of our goals, to inspire an acceptance of one’s body by recognizing the unique strength and abilities that each teen has.
By using our body (postures), focussing our mind (meditation, mindfulness), and working with our breath we learn about ourselves and our relationship with life. This enables us to change unhealthy habits and supports healthy success in physical and academic achievements as well as in our personal life.
By slowing down and connecting with their minds and bodies, teens are better able to think about decisions and make ones that respect themselves and others. It has always been our belief that yoga and mindfulness are powerful tools to improve the overall experience of adolescence and provide a solid foundation for the future. It is our hope that more schools will being to incorporate yoga and mindfulness into their curriculum and help support all teens to create healthy and happy lives.
If you’re interested in bringing Yoga and Mindfulness to your school book a free taster class now!
If you’d like to read more on the topic, check out “Working with Adolescents, Constructing Identity,”
CAMILLE is a Masters Student at King’s College London pursuing a degree in international child studies. Her interest lies in the work with teenage girls, specifically in matters relating to self-esteem and body image.