The practice of yoga has been a part of world culture for over 5,000 years. First originating in India, the Rig Veda, was a collection of hymns and mantras, known as mandalas. The mandala was a guide on stretching the body and mind to achieve calmness and tranquility. Over the decades, these traditions have been variegated to achieve different outcomes. Collectively, this method of exercise has been shown to be a top asset for mental health.
Why Yoga Is So Important for Adolescents
During pubescent years, a child goes through many changes, both physically and emotionally. While the body is going through its last stages of growing, the mind starts to experience more sensations, leading to how they react to themselves and others. If they are consistently being exposed to negative situations, they themselves take on this persona. While this is all a part of maturing, if left unattended, the adolescent accepts this outlook and exhibits the behavior that they deem appropriate, despite the consequences.
By integrating yoga into their schedule, adolescents can focus on their mental health in a positive state of mind. In fact, pre-pandemic statistics show that over 1.7 million children and teenagers practiced daily yoga. While these mindfulness programs were offered through schooling initially, adolescents have been forced to alter their daily practices due to the closure of education institutes during the pandemic.
A New Kind of Anxiety
In early 2020, the world literally came to a grinding halt. No more work, no more schools, and no more community outings. Covid-19 brought along a long list of restrictions, while putting extra stress on the mind. Overnight, parents were expected to be teachers and playmates while providing for the family. School children had to adjust to online classes and restricted peer outreach. In a current study from WebMD.com, researchers found that, “46 percent of 977 parents of teens said their child has shown signs of a new or worsening mental health condition since the start of the pandemic.”
With the added pressure of the unknowns, an adolescent is more prone to spiral into unacceptable behavior. While already experiencing a wide range of emotions, they are looking for acceptance. This is why peer to peer interaction is so important in an adolescent’s life. Without it, the child becomes withdrawn and unsure of themselves. Leading to less energy and lack of motivation to maintain a “normal” schedule.
At Red Mountain Colorado, we pride ourselves on providing detailed and focused therapy. While your adolescent will be participating in several programs, our top priority is good mental health. With yoga therapy, each student will learn to incorporate these practices in their daily lives. Re-teaching them the benefits of this art while keeping the focus on healing the mind and body.
The Styles of Yoga at Red Mountain Colorado
While there are hundreds of styles of yoga depending on the culture, at Red Mountain Colorado, we keep the focus on two primary practices, Yin yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. Meaning calm and active respectively. To better understand the process, let us look at the history of these yoga practices and why we believe in their importance for overall good health.
- Yin yoga – In the late 1970’s, famed American martial arts professional, Paulie Zink founded the yin and yang yoga practices. He believed by slowing down the physical body, the mind has a chance to rest and reset. Yin yoga focuses on moderate pressure to the body by holding poses for an extended time, with the goal of increasing circulation in the joints while improving flexibility. While the body remains still, the mind is focused on calming thoughts and more positive outcomes.
At Red Mountain Colorado, students are highly encouraged to participate in this style of yoga daily. We emphasize the benefits of slowing down and resetting the mind. This practice has been shown to be especially helpful during the transition from home. Many adolescents report feeling less defiant towards treatment by learning to let go of the anger and accepting the support.
- Vinyasa yoga – While the history of this style of yoga stems back thousands of years, K. Pattabhi Jois popularized it in the 20th century by establishing the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. His theory was, by keeping the body movements and breathing continuously flowing, the mind experiences less agitation and more natural serotonins.
We find that students are receptive to this style of yoga, as it reminds them of dancing. For many, Vinyasa yoga is especially helpful to work out aggression in a controlled environment with safe practices. Hand in hand with Yin yoga, the adolescent’s overall health becomes a priority to them as opposed to a passing thought. While formal classes are offered twice a week before school, staff consistently emboldens each student’s participation during their personal time.
Long-term Benefits of Daily Yoga Practices
When an adolescent is experiencing a mental health challenge, they are running on anxiety and depression sensors, often reporting feeling “overwhelmed by life”. By this stage, they are experiencing an overload of emotions. Families often report heightened aggression and complete withdrawal from daily life from their teen. By understanding the history of yoga, this opens the door to long-term health benefits which become clearer each day:
Keeps Acute Anxiety in Check
When experiencing multiple negative stimulants, an adolescent quickly becomes mentally overwhelmed and might react with a panic attack. This can feel like shortness of breath, extra fearful of life, or continual trembling. This is the body’s way of signaling that it needs to stop all movements to return to base level mentally. With daily yoga practice, the brain learns to react out of calmness and remains more focused when faced with unseen challenges.
Feeling More Rested
When the mind is stressed out from too much stimulation, it signals to our body that it needs rest. However, without a positive outlet for the emotions, sleep becomes disturbed and restless. In adolescents, this can look like excessive sleep or no sleep at all. With daily yoga practice, the body is more relaxed and focused on getting good rest. Over time, this becomes a natural habit creating a lifelong asset.
Better Overall Focus
Adolescents use their feelings as a compass for their reactions, as they have yet to learn how to control the negative aspects of life. The limited base information is filled with unanswered concerns and anxiety. When attending school, this can lead the child to be unfocused and agitated out of frustration. This produces overall poorer grades and participation during classes. By utilizing yoga as a calming technique, the brain can settle the emotions during unwanted distractions, leaving the mind to focus on the healthy information it needs.
Builds Healthy Confidence
Between puberty and peer pressure, an adolescent can get overwhelmed by the demands. This is the time that they are experiencing physical changes and the need to fit in with others. When not receiving emotional support, they turn to the media and classmates to fill in the gaps. By following others, this takes away the leadership in their own minds. Adolescents might drastically change their diet, overall look, or attitude to become part of the “group”. With daily yoga, their mind is more settled, and they begin looking for more positive outlets such as team sports or positive hobbies to maintain good health. In time, this builds a stronger and healthier outlook on life leading to better choices and more positive outcomes.
Learn More About Our Approach to Teen Yoga Therapy Today
Teen yoga therapy is another way in which Red Mountain Colorado looks beyond traditional treatments to uncover the path of healing for your teen. At Red Mountain Colorado, we focus on providing therapies and treatments that can help your teen achieve optimal health and get them on a path towards long-term success. Contact us today to see how we can help your teen.