Our bodies are wise temples of information, prompts and intuition, our bodies never lie. When we practice yoga, we get in touch with our bodies and we feel into pleasure, as well as aches and pains, to discover and listen to underlying emotions-Charlotta Martinus, Founder of TeenYoga
Originating in ancient India, yoga is, simply put, a mind and body practice combining physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation or relaxation. The ultimate goal of yoga is to attain tranquility in the mind and spirit.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing attention to internal and external experiences happening in the present moment; the here and now. You could call it; awareness, attention, focus, presence or vigilance. It is both a practice and a state of mind and you can think of mindfulness as simply being fully in the moment.
Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally-as if your life depended on it – Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn
As humans living in the twenty first century, we are accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for fulfilment and striving for “stuff” that always seems to be just out of our reach. We are often caught up in the doing rather than the being; in action rather than awareness. We struggle to be still, be calm, to be.
Can you see the benefits and connections?
Can you see how teens can benefit from both of these practices?
Watching teens in class, in school, on the bus and metro, I am constantly and profoundly shocked by their lack of presence. Often engrossed in the screen glowing in their hands, earphones in, listening to music whilst typing messages, scrolling through Instagram feeds or playing a game, they are very obviously NOT in their bodies and definitely NOT in the present moment. Sometimes, I confess, I admire this ability to multi, multi task and I know it’s a brave new world and I know they have grown up as the first generation fully embracing the world of instant on-line technology and a virtual life but what price have they paid and what will their future be?
Psychologists are expressing concern that teens are disconnected from themselves – disembodied, suffering from mental health problems and unaware that they are more than their profile on Snapchat and that they are responsible for looking after their own bodies and minds.
Introducing them to yoga and mindfulness could be the answer
During a yoga class you stretch your body which lets the brain know that you are relaxing. In breathing deeply the baroreceptors in the lungs are activated which tells the body to relax. Turning upside down allows the heart to relax. Focusing on the breath only, or a mantra, trains the brain to be strong and stop chattering or wandering and encourages concentration.
Practicing a mindfulness exercise like a body scan, mindful eating, loving-kindness, paying attention or breathe focus makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life, stops you getting caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past, it lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, improves sleep and helps relieve stress.
The benefits for teens are evident to me but will they themselves, see the benefits?
The teen yoga training I have just completed with TeenYoga founder, Charlotta Martinus aims to promote wellbeing among young people through alleviating stress, trauma and by empowering them. Charlotta, mother to two teenage boys, and ex school teacher, started Teen Yoga in 2003 and now classes are running throughout the Uk in both private and State schools. The Teen Yoga Foundation, a charity, provides funding for teens to access classes and also supports solidarity work in Sierra Leone and Kashmir.
The Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction(MBSR) course I undertook last year uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga to help people become more mindful.
Combining both and seeing the overlaps, I have created tween (10-12 year olds) and teen (13-17 year olds) Empowerment workshops with a super fun and young Psychologist, Isabella Felicia, living in Barcelona who also shares my passion for supporting tween and teen girls.
When; Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July
10 am to 4pm
Where; Barceloneta beach then Quartdenou Studio Coworking Space
For more information and to sign up….just get in touch.
Will our teens understand the benefits of being in the present? or have we already lost them?
I would love to hear your thoughts…..
Shine Sparkle and Radiate