The following article comes to us courtesy of Jasmine Kaloudis
Overloaded Teens? Take a Down dog!
With all the stresses that teens face with homework, team sports, college admissions tests, qualifying for students loans, the pressure of fitting in, awkward body changes and raging hormones, having a part-time job, doesn’t it make sense that yoga is a way for them to get calmer, chiller and more composed?
A recent study by Harvard University Division of Sleep Medicine, followed high school students that did a regular Kripalu program of yoga with physical postures, controlled breathing exercises as well as meditation and a relaxation period over 10 weeks with classes being 2 to 3 times a week.
Questionnaires were given to the high school students 1 week before the program and one week after. The main results of this were that the students well-being and ability to manage their emotions were greatly improved.
The yoga students found that their mood was greatly improved with yoga and they were less prone to anger, irritability and they had increased self-confidence and composure after regularly attending yoga classes during their PE period.
I know when I was an awkward teenager, I was pressured by my parents to get a 3.5 GPA or I wouldn’t be able to go out with my friends and use the car. Most of my friends were dating and had boyfriends so I felt like I had to have a boyfriend also….. Enter the hot and sophisticated German Exchange student.
I was also on the tennis team and when I first started it I was on the bottom of the team and felt like a loser. Having more self-acceptance about my place on the ladder would have helped me to handle my position better. I played about 2 to 3 hours of tennis about 5 times a week and was determined to not be on the bottom of the team ladder. I wonder how much more composed and collected I would have felt with a regular asana and meditation practice.
Most of my friends always got As and I always seemed to get B's even though we all studied together all the time. We all wanted to go to the top schools so my friends, parents and even friends of my parents all seemed to collectively put pressure on us to take the College Prep classes and only get A's.
I was also having lots of the normal teenage girl battles with my parents at the time over the cliche subjects, going out, curfew, homework, grades, boys, partying and had plenty of heated battles with them. I wish I had a tool at the time for being level-headed and to see things more objectively which would have made relations much smoother with less stand-offs. Yoga would have given me a tool to be less reactive and more even-keeled with all these difficult issues.
In addition to the demands of school, the pressure of getting good grades to get into a respectable college, battling with my parents, fitting in with my friends, the confusion of dating for the first time I worked part time as well. I had to learn to be more responsible in a professional manner for my conduct at quite a few different jobs as a teenager such as a camp counselor, pizza delivery girl (one of my favorite jobs ever) and a clerk at Seaworld (gotta love their otter show!)
I had to learn to use sound judgment and didn’t have my peers or parents immediately available to me. If I had had yoga at the time, I think I would have had a more developed intuition and trusted my inner guidance to help me navigate the world of work at such a young age.
Benefits of Yoga for High School Students
Are you a High School student that does yoga? Do you have kids that do yoga at school? What changes have you or have they noticed in all of these areas as a result of a consistent yoga practice?
Jasmine Kaloudis teaches beginner yoga, and romantic retreats in the Philadelphia Metro Area. She is the author of the top 100 Mind Body Spirit Websites list. Throughout her 15 year practice and teachings, Jasmine has experienced how yoga is a tool which allows us to experience our selves more fully and more richly. She specializes in working with yoga beginners, the stiff and inflexible as well as couples.
You can visit her on her yoga blog as well as:
Flicker Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/synergybyjasmine