On our Teenyoga courses, the students often ask me, “how come you are so passionate about yoga for young people?”
The answer is simple, “ When we observe such suffering and we have a solution, why would we not offer it?”
In Book 2:16 of Patanjalis Sutras, it is written ” Heyam DUhkham anagatam” “The result of yoga is to avoid future suffering”. I truly believe and experience on a daily basis the beneficial impact that the yoga philosophy, meditation practise and integrated yoga practise has on my life and on the lives of the young people I reach out to. I see it in my own classes and hear it reported through the 450 students who have taken my course and are now teaching in schools, the PRU and within CAMHS and all over the world which amounts to at least 7000 young people.
The concept of spirituality is something which is hard to specify and sometimes a sticky topic to introduce especially in schools. However, I have found young people generally are really hungering for the topic. I think the Mindfulness movement in schools has opened up the concept of exercising our minds to focus as well as becoming aware of sensations and feelings. However, some people are left needing more guidance and more specifically applied and therapeutic exercises that suit their particular needs. I feel very moved and touched when I hear my students use the term “soul food” in relationship to the yoga classes.
Yoga feeds the soul. On the TeenYoga course, the main objective is to equip the graduates with as much knowledge as possible to be able to judge what exactly the young person in front of them might need, in order to be optimally well. Using all the tools that yoga offers, we have a complete toolkit or maybe even medicine bag to help with most problems and issues.
Teen Yoga Foundation is the charity connected to TeenYoga which promotes yoga for young people through research and the annual conference Instill in London. We are proud to host Sir Anthony Seldon as the patron of the charity and he mentioned on Desert Island discs in January that “the still and receptive mind is the ultimate goal for us all” He continues in true yogic fashion “the more one moves into a place of inner awareness, the less on gets blown about. When lows roll on, I don’t feel the same sense of abandonment and loneliness.”
He has been very instrumental in bringing a non-secular spirituality into education in the UK and was knighted by the Queen for his contributions in this field.
So, the door is open for yoga in all its glory, to set the samskaras of our future leaders and carers – habits of self care, compassion, contentment and awareness. What we teach our young people will shape the future of our world. Why would I not share yoga?