Do Boys do Yoga?

I asked my group of boys at the local Catholic 6th Form, why they come to yoga, week after week, why they encourage their mates to come along and these are their top five answers:

  1. Its like the gym, but more fun, building muscle and upper body strength
  2. Its really challenging, particularly the arm balances
  3. It has upped my (rugby) game, I am more flexible and quicker
  4. It has given me better self esteem
  5. It helps me deal with stress by teaching me how to relax fully

(secret no 6 was told to me in a whisper, was they came for the hot girls!)

 I have taught boys yoga now for 10 years and I am finding more and more of them are really getting into the essence of yoga, the relaxation, the breathing, the powerful asanas but also the gentle ones. The groups who have been with me for the longest (from7-14 years old) are big into Yoga Nidra and sharing emotional stuff from the week too. In those groups we also do self and group massage, which always goes down well. They are an emotionally intelligent group and I really enjoy being around them.

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Nurturing Boys

For 10 years I have been teaching teen boys yoga and always felt the need to go in full guns creating fun and funky classes, full of arm balances and fun. I have shared my insights about this in my trainings, where I share what works and what doesn’t with each gender, age and social group.

 We were going through a typical class with girls of around 15 years old, a nurturing, kind, touchy feely kind of class with lots of fun peppered through as well and the question came up – “could we teach this class to boys?”

 I reflected and told them :

 7 years ago I started a boys only football team yoga class in Primary school, teaching them self massage, massage of each other, yoga nidra, partner yoga. It became a nurturing, kind environment, where verbal and physical sharing was at the heart of the experience. They carried on this weekly class from the age of 7 to 11, when they left school. It is interesting to note that it was a private, closed class.

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Transparency and trust

I think there must be a lesson in this? How do I look at this well, to inform and help me to become a better yogi, a more engaged human being, in the service of others?

 Because, as yogis and yoga teacher trainers, it seems to me this is the goal, as Simon Haas so eloquently outlines in his book, “Dharma, Making Enlightened Choices”.

 So, the anger, where to go with that?  The betrayal, what is that?

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expanding into love

A deep yogi friend of mine recently decided to divorce her husband after years of affairs and betrayal. She had obliterated herself down the ahimsa path. Now I feel Kali in her, the suppressed rage of ages, percolate into action. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krisna (the god of love!!!) encourages Arjuna to do his duty on the battlefield, Arjuna wants peace, he doesn’t want to fight, Krishna encourages him to kill and do his duty.

 And this is where I am. Is the idea of ahimsa sometimes a tool to further suppress our anger, guilt, shame and actually bring us further from ourselves and therefore from others?

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AHIMSA- what does it mean in the real world?



  1. 1.

(in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain tradition) respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others. 

Ahimsa  – this beautiful word, at the back of our minds, as yogis, what does it mean, in practical terms? Doing, thinking no harm, love in action.

 Working with people is not always easy. Working in partnership can be tricky, so when I had built up trust and confidence in my assistant and colleague over a year, entrusting her to work with me on my unique training programme, it came as a shock when she told me that she was now going to run the programme of the same name at the same venue that we were running it together, but this time on her own.

I must admit to feeling betrayed, humiliated and angry.

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Adolescence-the essence of life, through yoga

Today, for the first time, three (of the 12) 14 year olds spontaneously and seriously burst into a unified Om, so loud and so surprising, I felt it in my whole body. I felt the stones and mortar of the venerable Catholic College tremor with surprise and judgment, but the kids were full of yoga and full of the joy of exploring the power of their bodies and minds, they had no idea of the revolution, they had taken part in. Afterwards, instead of the customary giggling and nervousness, followed a numinous silence. The stillness and profound acceptance landed softly on us all in the common room today.

The awe and respect I felt in that moment, is repeated every time they open their eyes after relaxation, savasana, pranayama or meditation, their open gaze falls on mine in compassion and wonder and reminds me why I am here.

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Small beginnings

The website started its journey five years ago in a Somerset garden inspired by two yoga teachers working with adolescents. A few years in the making, a teaching manual, a teaching programme and many hundreds of teenagers later, the yoga site is up and running. The aim of this website is to bring teens together and also teachers interested in working with adolescents, as well as provide a directory of teen yoga teachers, who have completed the teenyoga course.

Please take time to have a look around the site, it will be updated on a monthly basis, as soon as we find more research, it will be up here for your information. There will be relevant blogs and a shop as well as a forum in time.

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When we are ourselves completely and we follow our inner, quiet voice, the net always appears, we are always safe. You are safe.

The story of The Rope tells about a mountain climber who wanted to climb the highest mountain. He begins his adventure after many years of preparation but since he wanted the glory just for himself, he decided to climb the mountain alone.

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