Yoga for Teenagers in Australia and beyond
Currently, yoga is more popular in Australia than pilates or aerobics, with 2.18 million practitioners. Accompanying this steady increase it has started to be introduced as a health toolkit for all, including teenagers who are battling more than ever with their mental health. According to GP News (October 2019) there has been a 5.5% increase in mental health issues among young people since 2012, which means that 1 in 4 are now suffering.
Every year, Mission Australia conduct a survey of young Australians to find out their values, aspirations and concerns. Just over 25 000 young people aged 15 – 19 completed the survey in 2019. The respondents identified the top three most important issues in Australia today to be mental health (36%), the environment (34%) and equity / discrimination (25%). The respondents reported that their top three personal concerns included coping with stress (45%), school or study problems (34%) and mental health (33%). More than twice the number of females reported they were extremely or very concerned about coping with stress (58% compared with 26% of males.)
There are plenty of examples of school teachers, physiotherapists and psychotherapists across Australia, looking to use alternative techniques such as mindfulness and yoga to support these young people.
Over in the UK, the Teen Yoga Foundation, has been researching the impact specifically on young people for the last 17 years and most recently was funded by the European Union to develop and pilot a yoga programme for disadvantaged youth across 5 different countries and contexts, spanning Italy, Belgium, Norway, Spain and the UK. To find out more about the results and outputs of the programme, please click here: www.hippocampusproject.eu. The project produced the largest research sample so far outside India, and the results showed that yoga has significant effects on mental well-being, stress, quality and length of sleep, as well as increasing concentration and focus.
Against this background it is increasingly important that yoga is delivered by well trained and experienced yoga practitioners who can help the students find exactly the type and style of yoga that is right for them. The Teen Yoga Foundation now offers online courses that do this. For more information please see here.