Monthly Teen Yoga inspiration

Monthly inspiration, themed around the time of the year.

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JULY – CONNECTION

One definition of connection is ‘to join, link or fasten together; unite or bind.’  Most of you will know that the word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuji,’ meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite.’  It’s no wonder then that connection is such an important part of the yoga practice.

In a yoga practice, connection starts within you through awareness of your mind and your body and the interplay of both.  Connectedness within ourselves is the starting point – and a prerequisite – for connecting with others and the world.

Most of us will be familiar with the concept of self-care but it is basically anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally and emotionally well.  Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer and becoming better equipped to manage stress.

Charlotta says in her book, ‘ spending time by oneself is the time we give ourselves to reflect, journal, touch base; this forms an essential part of shaping our identity, clarifying what is important and connecting with our conscience.’  We connect with ourselves and from there, we create connections with others and not just people but also to nature and the Earth.

To quote Brene Brown, ‘Connection is why we are here.’  It’s hard to argue with that.   😊

Connection with others is about recognising and respecting that at the core, we are the same:  flesh and blood with thoughts and emotions.  Disconnection arises when you see yourself as not good enough; or you are fearful or something new and different that threatens your worldview.  Come from we are connected – understand that we have far more in common than that which divides us.  That requires vulnerability and malleability – the ability of seeing yourself as fluid and not fixed.  An important lesson for yogis to learn.

For the month of July, we bring you resources relating to connection and how you can create connection not only through yoga but by also encouraging your yogis to connect outside the yoga class – off their mat. 

We begin with a class plan for a yoga class centred on Connection. This class plan is designed to create a supportive and nurturing environment where teenagers can explore the theme of connection through yoga.

Theme: Connection

Objective: To help teenagers cultivate a deeper sense of connection with themselves and others through mindful movement, breathwork, and relaxation.

Class Duration: 60 minutes

Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Welcome and Theme Introduction:
    • Greet the students warmly and introduce the theme of “Connection.”
    • Briefly explain how yoga can help us connect with our inner selves and with others.
    • Encourage students to set an intention for the class focused on connection.

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

  • Breath Awareness:
    • Begin with a few minutes of seated or lying down breath awareness. Guide students to notice their breath without trying to change it.
    • Practice a simple pranayama exercise, like “Four-Count Breath” (inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4).
  • Gentle Stretches:
    • Neck rolls (3 rounds each direction).
    • Shoulder shrugs and arm circles.
    • Cat-Cow stretches on hands and knees.

Flow (20 minutes)

  • Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar A):
    • Lead the class through 3-5 rounds of Sun Salutations, encouraging mindful movement and breath synchronization.
  • Standing Sequence:
    • Mountain Pose (Tadasana): Emphasize grounding and connection to the earth.
    • Tree Pose (Vrksasana): Focus on balance and connection to the breath.
    • Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I): Encourage strength and stability.
    • Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): Foster a sense of openness and expansion.
    • Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): Highlight the connection between different parts of the body.

Partner Work (10 minutes)

  • Partner Poses:
    • Double Tree Pose: Partners stand side by side, supporting each other in Tree Pose.
    • Seated Forward Fold and Backbend: One partner sits in Staff Pose (Dandasana) while the other gently presses their back against them, creating a connection through gentle pressure.
    • Back-to-Back Breathing: Partners sit back-to-back, synchronizing their breath and feeling the support of each other.

Relaxation and Connection to Self (10 minutes)

  • Guided Meditation:
    • Lead a guided meditation focusing on self-connection, self-love, and inner peace.
    • Encourage students to visualize roots growing from their bodies into the earth, grounding them and fostering a sense of belonging.

Closing (5 minutes)

  • Savasana (Corpse Pose):
    • Allow students to rest in Savasana, encouraging them to let go of any remaining tension and fully relax.
    • Play soft, calming music or remain in silence.
  • Reflection and Gratitude:
    • Bring the class back to a seated position.
    • Invite students to reflect on their practice and the connections they felt.
    • End with a moment of gratitude, either silently or sharing aloud.
  • Closing Remarks:
    • Thank the students for their participation.
    • Remind them to carry the sense of connection they cultivated on the mat into their daily lives.

Optional: Sharing Circle (if time allows)

  • Invite students to share their experiences and feelings about the class, fostering a sense of community and deeper connection with each other.

This class plan is designed to create a supportive and nurturing environment where teenagers can explore the theme of connection through yoga.

On 19th October 2022 we had a drop-in event at Parliament, where we had the chance to explain the benefits of yoga in schools, healthcare and youth provision to MPs.

The event was a valuable way to continue the conversation with MPs about our work and the benefits for young people. Though it was a complicated day in Parliament we had some very rich and fruitful conversations.

We created two resources that are likely to be useful to people who wish to talk about the benefits of yoga (for example to schools). Please feel free to share with your MP. We are also happy to meet with MPs who are interested.

If you do share with your MP we’d be grateful if you could drop us a line to Nick at teenyoga.com, telling us which MP and constituency you have contacted.

Please let us know if you have any questions/suggestions.

LINKS & RESOURCES FOR JULY

Here is a video focused on connection.

Connection Challenge

There are many different ways to connect.  Yes, it’s nice to connect with friends but how about connecting with nature?  Or maybe both at the same time?!

For our challenge this month, we encourage you and your yogis to create connection and take a picture.  That could be doing a partner pose with someone – or maybe a picture with shoes off, toes in the sand (or grass!), connecting with nature.  It could even be sitting back-to-back with a family member, bringing awareness to breath and creating connection.

Once you have a picture, post it to Instagram, tagging #teenyoga, and encourage others to do the same.  Create your own connection!  

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MEDITATION PRACTICE: THE PEBBLE MEDITATIONThe Pebble Meditation is a meditation created by the late Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hnah. It promotes connection and also helps us manage complex emotions.

FUNDRAISING

I bought some meditation cushions yesterday.

I have a little button, a ”widget”, in my web browser from an organisation called Give as you Live.

Before buying the cushions I clicked on the button, then carried on as normal.

Later I received a message saying, “you have raised £2.21 for the Teen Yoga Foundation”. It was that easy.

Over 2000 people see this page each month, if you all clicked it would quickly add up!

As Christmas comes you may be making online purchases, if you set up the Give as you Live button, then the places you buy from will make donations (the percentage varies) to us.

All you have to do is click on the button! We would really appreciate it, as every donation helps!

You first need to sign-up on the ‘Give as you Live’ website. Choose Teen Yoga Foundation as your chosen charity.  Then, you just need to enter a few details about yourself and you’re all set to start raising free funds!

Once you’ve signed-up, download the Donation Reminder “widget” to your browser.  When you visit a participating online store (there are thousands),you click on the widget and it asks if you want a percentage of your purchase to raise money for us.  You click ‘yes’ and shop as you normally would.

You won’t typically see anything different on the store’s website, but as long as you’ve clicked on the widget, they’ll know you’re a ‘Give As You Live’ online shopper.

And that’s it!  They will email you to let you know how much has been raised.

Why not try it now? Sign-up on the ‘Give as you Live’ website 

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