Does your teenager need a stress buster? Maybe you should consider signing her up for a yoga class.
“On a physical level, the benefits of yoga for teens include flexibility, strength and coordination,” explains Beth Furman, a Connecticut-based yoga instructor, who’s been teaching for more than 10 years. “It also positively affects focus and the ability to stay balanced at a stressful time of life.”
So, what kind of class should your teenager take? When it comes to teen yoga, there are a variety of options. “The yoga style that is right for your teen depends on his or her physical needs,” Furman explains.
Most classes offer some form of Hatha yoga, the predominant style practiced in the U.S. Other styles include Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Power Yoga, which tend to be more vigorous. Teenagers looking for a slower pace should consider an Integral or Restorative approach. But the benefits of yoga for teens are available in all of these different practices.
If you’re not sure what’s what when looking at the class offerings at your local yoga studio, just pick up the phone and ask. Most studios allow new clients to take one or two classes for free, so call around to see what’s available in your area. Let your teenager go with whatever approach works best for her.
Yoga can be an excellent alternative for teenagers who don’t enjoy organized sports — or the hours and hours required to play on the varsity team. Many high schools also allow students to get gym credit for their yoga classes.
Seventeen-year old Beena Jacob, also from Connecticut, counts on her regular yoga classes to help keep her centered: “I love how it helps me find balance. I’m stressed when I enter; when I leave, I feel taller inside and out, and I’m at one with myself.”