Last week, I asked Jim (17) what the bravest thing he’d ever done was and he said, “tell someone I was sad”. Nick (19) said something very similar, “to let someone know I wasn’t coping”. Boys are traditionally seen as brave, whereas girls were always considered needing protection. This gender stereotype has all but disappeared for the young generation, where mental health issues are rife and where there is little or no support. This has meant that many young people are supporting each other in various ways. They are learning to become less judgmental and better listeners. They are also becoming well versed in different issues and how to help.
Many young people are turning to yoga to help them with their mental health. This week (Childrens Mental Health Week), we see 50,000 subscribing to our daily videos on yoga and mental health in their school. These videos help students understand their emotions (in the case of primary schools as well as secondary) and form strategies for dealing effectively with them, for themselves and others. To find out more about this for your school, head over to our social media accounts.
Bravery has moved from saving the damsel in distress, to being able to cry, let go and ask for support. With too many young men committing suicide in our vicinity, we need to re-educate our boys about emotional bravery and help them form a new idea about what coping mechanisms they can use, apart from drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships or addiction to work or porn, the norm for many men in the past. I see a bright future for yoga in schools for young men to help them become more emotionally intelligent and literate. Let’s support this development where we can.
We are actively looking for funding to provide free, tailored classes of this kind in schools that have had their budgets cut by 30% in the past few years. If you would like to help, please go to our website, teenyogafoundation.com and donate there or pop us an email at email@example.com.
As climate strikes pepper the land, it strikes me how one little person from Sweden has inspired millions to speak up about what they are passionate about – Mother Earth.
I had the privilege of spending Monday evening with 8 hand-picked young yogis in London. They had all been through a selection process and were chosen for their passion and experience in yoga.
Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the influence she has had in the world, young people are gathering together to offer their solution to the worlds’ problems. These young people have all practised yoga for many years already. Two of them were on the autistic spectrum. They came to be trained to share yoga with their peers in the new programme run by the Teen Yoga Foundation.
Again and again we hear the cry from the young – we are experiencing a mental health crisis, but what can we do about it?
These brave young souls will be marching forth into the arena of mental health, equipped with specific training to help others, multiplying the wellbeing effect in their school and other contexts.
In yoga we learn how to lift ourselves up, by controlling our minds, by lifting and opening our hearts, we learn how to be well on every level. Part of being well is recognising our interdependence with the planet and each other. Once we recognise this, we can only support others.
There is no separation between us – this profound truth is experienced in meditation, one young person at a time, finding their feet, finding their way, finding their wellness, lifting themselves and others up into light and hope.
- What does inclusivity mean within yoga?
- How does language influence your teaching and therapy practice?
- How do you approach students and clients dealing with chronic conditions?
- How can prisoners benefit from yoga?
- An article on hosting an LGBTQ+ friendly class from Lana Skrypnyk
- A live Q&A on body positivity and fighting against the biases in yoga with Donna Noble
- A webinar from Heather Mason on social prescribing in the UK
- A live class with Sian O’Neill, which you can follow from wherever you are through our live stream!
- Talk to a school about a taster day for World Peace day
- Mention the evidence that yoga increases social cohesion within a school and in a community.
- Send out a press release to your local press and let your local MP know.
Teen Yoga graduate Niki Moss Simpson recently launched her first book as co-author of the best selling Pay It Forward series: Notes to My Younger Self. Here, in an excerpt from her blog, Niki talks about teens and their needs.
No One ever said parenting was going to be easy, right? And the teenage years are definitely not easy years to parent. A glass of wine, selective hearing & friends as equally confused as you, make it all a little bearable.
But can you remember what it was like to be a teenager yourself? Can you remember how you felt misunderstood, awkward, swinging from one mood to another in the blink of a rolling eye or a loudly voiced disapproving tut?
Well, yes, it’s a different decade & yes, lots has changed & yes, of course you had things much worse but certain things remain the same physiologically including brain, physical & emotional development & these are very much running the messy show in your teens life.
So, grab that glass of wine, settle down in a comfortable chair cos here is what your teen son or daughter wants you to know (kinda)…
To read more of Niki’s blog read here.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles said yesterday, “By its very nature, yoga builds discipline, self-reliance and supports self-care – all of which contribute to improved health. Indeed practised within a group, it has tremendous social benefits as well”. These words were spoken at the first national conference on yoga in healthcare that occurred last weekend in London where I was speaking about yoga for young people. His words bring support to those who have practised yoga for a long time and might open the door to this majestic practise to those who are looking to prolong and increase their quality of life. There is a movement for yoga to be included in school curricula and also for it to be prescribed by doctors in GP surgeries to help with various specific conditions. This may well change our perspective on healthcare from relying on outside help and support to taking control and power over our own health.
When we come into a space to move together, ground ourselves, feel into our aches and pains and work out how to relieve them by ourselves, controlling the breath and the emotions, to end in deep relaxation together, we can become masters of our destiny.
Yoga teaches us to accept ourselves as we are, embracing us into a peaceful community. When we accept ourselves unconditionally, we will accept others without judgment or criticism. This leads to a pleasant life and an effortless sharing of peace.