TeenYoga has been running since 2004. It has grown organically from a gaggle of curious yoga teachers picking my brain to a structured, 5 day course taught all over the world!
The main principle of our intensive training programme is to make yoga teachers more confident in working with young people, by adapting their tools to make yoga more interesting and relevant to this group.
The intention of the course and the motivation behind it, is to relieve future suffering by teaching tools for emotional regulation, spiritual growth and harnessing joy.
I have found that many teachers shy away from teens, finding them noisy unpleasant and generally difficult!
They are right!
But they can be completely wonderful, with deep insights, absolute joy, fearless and bottomless curiosity. In me, they tend to harness hope and joy for the future at their best and at their worst, a deep desire to guide and nurture.
This course is important, we look at the issues facing teenagers today, the impact of media, gender and social issues.
We explore the body and the mind of the teen as well and look at recent research on the topic, which TeenYoga is involved in generating.
More recently we have placed more importance and interest in the ancient wisdom and how for example chakra theory can help us understand adolescents better.
The wonderful writer Simon Haas, as part of the TeenYoga team, has had a deep influence on our training course, with his recent book Dharma, Making Enlightened Choices. Also, the world renown Dr Dan Siegel, Neuroscientist and Family Psychiatrist as well as Mindfulness teacher, has come on board and lectures on the course about the impact on Mindfulness on the teen brain. His recent book – Brainstorm, has proved to be an inspiration to all our students and is highly recommended if you are interested in this area.
Most of the students are yoga teachers, but half of them come from either the world of the NHS (Psychologists, Doctors, Social workers and Nurses) or teachers in secondary schools. The impact of the course is wide reaching, and has been implemented in the PRU (pupil referral unit) and also in prisons across the country as well as in Dubai, the US, France and soon also Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
What is the impact of yoga on teens?
There are several articles and very recent research published showing that mindful yoga manages to mitigate the impact of trauma in the brain, so that the brain can integrate more smoothly and create a stronger Prefrontal cortex, resulting in an ability to live a fuller, more joyful life. Although, I am often struck by the thought, why do we need research? In French “experience” means both experiment and experience – as yogis, we know how yoga works, to keep us on track, mentally, emotionally and physically!
Of course we need to share this wisdom with our young people to ensure a better future for all!