Why Teens Need Yoga More Than Ever

On my way to the second day of the Yoga for Teens training course, I reflect over the common themes that always come up on these days, 28 people from all over Europe, united in one vision to support young people with yoga, have all noticed the same thing – young people are increasingly anxious, lacking in self esteem and are suffering. 
 
Coming together, teachers, psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists all see one solution – yoga. In their own practise, yoga has taken them through difficulties and shown them hope through self care. We all wonder together with one voice: “what is it that happened, why do young people suffer today?” Huddled in groups, they tackle these questions, investigating the development of the adolescent brain and the psycho-social issues that play such a large part in lives of young people today.
 
We play, cry and laugh as we remember how tough this period can be and as we examine research around how many mental health issues in middle age have their root in adolescence (75%!)
 
Bringing yoga into schools no longer seems such an odd idea, as it did 15 years ago when we started mooting the concept in Somerset state sector schools. Now over 25 % of schools offer yoga as either part of the curriculum or as an after school club. The new directive from government to employ mental health leads in every school has opened up the opportunity for so many TeenYoga Teachers to go in and offer yoga as part of a wellbeing programme both for target groups, teachers and for the general student group. Given 75% of 14 year old girls opt out of PE, yoga proves to be a popular alternative, taking them away from the competitive atmosphere of GCSE and into an accepting, self-caring space.
 
I used to mention yoga as a possibility to the issues facing schools, now I
state it as an obvious solution and they listen.