BBC Thought for the Day

Teenagers are rowdy, vital, mischievous and give us a run for our money. Their task is to differentiate themselves from adults in order to belong to a group that defines them. This task needs to be met with respect and support, so that they can learn to become responsible adults. When young people misbehave, we feel the need to punish them. When little kids act out, we find ways of controlling or mitigating their behaviour. But teens are bigger, noisier and can seem more threatening. Many teenagers become rowdy because they are feeling upset, insecure, or they want to impress their friends or test the boundaries of carers and other adults who are there to protect and guide them.

Yoga teaches us compassion, it teaches us to embody what we want to see in others. If we want to see tolerant, respectful, responsible citizens, we need to embody that in the way we deal with them. We need to attempt to understand their behaviour and go beyond the chaotic exterior. Many young people are suffering from anxiety and other debilitating mental health issues and they turn to us and ask – help us to help ourselves. In my experience as a school teacher and teacher trainer, I feel we are not doing enough to support young people to navigate their emotions and find an equilibrium in a judgmental and rapidly changing world. We need to find calm and we need to teach young people to find calm, to find a space where they can breathe, relax and let go.

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Belonging

Hearts come home at Christmas – embroidered delicately on one of my Christmas decorations, made me ponder, made me reflect on belonging.  It has come up a lot for me recently. My father died a few years ago, my sister lives far away as does my mum, my boys are slowly leaving home and I divorced their father ten years ago, I was born in Africa and my mum is Swedish. I was brought up in London and live in Somerset. At a time when ex-patriots are being sent back from the USA and the UK as well as many other countries, the march of nationalism begs the urgent question – where do I belong?

I live in a Somerset village where there are two or three dominant surnames echoing among the hills and rooted deep in the clay of the earth. Families belong to the land, memories are tied to the land, its changes and how it has served them through generations.

On the occasion of my 50th birthday I felt literally drawn to the place of my birth, Kitwe Zambia – I took a bus to the hospital where 50 years earlier I was born. I wanted to enter, find the room, find the doctor and find the time when I came into this world and landed on this red, hot earth which hides diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

I felt a strange longing, a subtle recognition of the smells of bodies, dried fish, earth and other unperceived and unnamed objects and wafts on the wind. I felt I belonged, a white face among black, a privileged woman among those who had never travelled, never worked and never seen what I had seen. I belonged.

I watch my mother flying back to Sweden as soon as she can, having lost her anchor, my father, her boat steers her home, where her heart is – the land she recognises, the language that flows easily from her tongue, the subtle social hints that belong to her.

I watch my son return from university and nestle in his boyhood room, with his cat in his space, where he belongs, his internal sat nav draws him inexorably home.

We move, we uproot ourselves, we travel, we change partners and even families. The subtlety of belonging is lost.

Lonely and adrift, we search for belonging in community. Somehow, we got lost in the understanding that we can relocate, break up, start again, lose someone and just carry on, recreating our belonging again and again.  I detect a brutalisation of our needs and wants, a brutalisation of the subtler aspects of being human which are connected to being joyful, safe and feeling necessary.

We seek refuge in the oasis of belonging.

Since 2007 I have been creating communities, first here in the village, a yoga and wellbeing community, then nationally, with retreats and now globally, we create communities of teenyoga teachers, who come together to celebrate the empowerment of our future leaders through yoga. Because I’ve discovered that to belong is to feel joy.

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Thought for the Day – 4th December

Last week I was invited to speak at the House of Lords, the European Commission and a Mental Health conference run by young people.

There is a shift in people’s understanding and acceptance of yoga. The true meaning of yoga can be elusive, finding union in community, in mind and body, finding peace with our neighbours and with ourselves, releasing tension so that we can fully enjoy the present moment.

When we release tension in our minds and bodies, we find ourselves in a place of stillness, flow and joy.

Tension or what we call Chronic stress is everywhere, in the supermarket, in the hospital, in schools and even in families at Christmas. Long term stress, as so many of us know, leads to fatal disease. It makes us brutish, unkind and harsh.

Christmas for many, is stressful, as we have so many expectations of ourselves and our families, yet in the stillness of the deepest, darkest time of the year, it would be simple to tune into the pause as we poise for the turn towards energy, light and activity.

So Pause.

Embrace the stillness, turn off the TV, gift each other your presence rather than your presents, pause at the turn of the year, reflect, relax and return to your true, peaceful self, in union with all around you.

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Teen Yoga Alert

It has come to our attention that there is a training programme in the UK that uses our logo and our manual but is not accredited by us. To be clear, the only teacher trainers running the accredited full TeenYoga course are Charlotta Martinus, Yvonne Morey, Helen Clare and Sarah O’Connor. If you have received training from anyone else and they have used the logo and material from the course, I am sorry but this was not us.
 
If you would like to join our community, please feel free to contact us and we can have a chat on how to move forward together supporting young people in the best way possible. There are many events that we run which you would be welcome to.
 
In peace and unity,
 
Charlotta

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