At the weekend, I had the privilege of hosting and attending the Instill conference about yoga for young people in London. I was struck by the powerful voice of a group of teens who concluded the day.
They ranged from 13 to 18 years old and spoke passionately and eloquently about facing mental health challenges in their short lives. One girl recounted that she had tried 5 different therapies to try to relieve her crippling anxiety without any luck. Finally, she found yoga. Her experience, like the others, was that when she started to release tension in the body and the mind, she became more able to control the mind and guide it towards a more positive way of thinking. As she started her path of reflection and in-time, she felt more able to unhook from social media and connect with herself and more deeply with others.
The final speaker, Flo, 13, mentioned that they all know someone who takes drugs to alleviate some kind of mental illness, they are only too aware of the problem, but why have they not been given tools to support them and resolve the issues? She found yoga and wants it to be in the curriculum.
This student-led approach to life-long learning – embedding a skillset into their life for the better, is the way forward, to reach out to young people and empower them to support themselves and each other in ways that are meaningful to them.
We need to empower young people to find their own truth, their own path and their own future which I firmly believe is full of hope.
From Nicki Ledgard