Yoga for Teens: Beyond Flexibility

yoga for teensYoga for Teens:
Beyond Flexibility

Everyone has heard about yoga and what it does for your flexibility.  But this
ancient Indian art can do much more than simply make your muscles stretchier.

Here are just a few ways yoga can improve life for a teenager:

1. Posture
It’s common for teenagers to have problems with bad posture, probably resulting from the unfortunate combination of growth spurts and late nights slumped in front of the computer.  Yoga is a great way to counteract those slouching tendencies.  Many yoga poses target tension the chest, shoulders, and neck, which are problem areas for people with bad posture.  Yoga also focuses on aligning and balancing the spine with other parts of the body, which naturally helps you sit up a little straighter at the dinner table.

2. Creativity
When you’re busy keeping up with schoolwork and studying for SATs, it’s hard to keep in touch with your creative side.  Practicing yoga enhances focus and helps to clear the mind of the loud distractions in the world that can prevent us from paying attention to the things we are passionate about.  Yoga creates space in the brain for creative juices to flow.

3. Strength
This one goes out to all of you fellow athletes out there.  If you’re training on a sports team or just looking to enhance your physical strength for personal reasons, yoga is one way to go about doing so.  When practiced regularly, yoga stretches can increase your muscular endurance and make you stronger over longer periods of time.

4. Sleep
Between getting up early for school in the morning and staying up late doing homework, the average teen spends their school days either religiously patronizing the neighborhood Starbucks or lumbering through the halls in a zombie-like fashion.  Practicing yoga might just help fix your sleep schedule.   Studies have shown that yoga can improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get every night.

5. Stress
Yoga is a huge stress reliever and a booster for spirituality.  I attended a yoga class during finals week last semester and walked away feeling happier and more relaxed than I thought was possible.

While yoga may not magically erase all the bad and scary things about your life, it is much easier for you to peacefully accept their existence once you step off the mat.  This is a mindset that you will benefit from in all aspects of your busy and stressful teenage life.

–Hannah, 16, Greenwood

GWD

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