Teens are stressed. It is no secret that everyone is craving tools for stress management and healthy coping strategies.
The American Psychological Association reports that “many American teens report experiencing stress at unhealthy levels, appear uncertain in their stress management techniques and experience symptoms of stress in numbers that mirror adults’ experiences.”
The thought of growing up in today’s world with little to no coping strategies would send anyone into consistent panic or fight/flight response.
Yesterday I taught a class that was a humbling reminder of how yoga and mindfulness practices don’t have to look the way you may envision a typical yoga class.
I get to teach a weekly trauma-informed yoga class with Sea Change Yoga at Day One Recovery Center for teens. This week I walked into class and everyone was feeling completely exhausted- emotionally and physically.
We started our class on bolsters (big pillows) in a restorative position with our bodies. We scanned our bodies for tension, practiced deep breathing techniques and set an intention. I reminded them that they had full permission to do what felt right in their bodies and minds. If that meant lying down and resting, that was completely fine.
I wrapped up our time on our backs in the beginning of class (about 5 minutes) and guided them toward their hands and knees into a table top position. None of them budged. I was happy to see they were listening to their bodies and minds, and rest is what they needed. They spent 45 minutes on their backs, resting. They were respectful and genuinely needed time and space to simply relax.
The power of giving people permission to listen to their bodies in a safe space can shift us physically and emotionally. A beautiful reminder that yoga doesn’t have to look a certain way and that lesson plans are terrific, but sometimes they need to be thrown out the window to authentically serve.