I teach yoga and mindfulness at Day One Recovery Center for teens through Sea Change Yoga. Sea Change brings the healing power of trauma-informed yoga & meditation to all.
The teens in Day Ones’ outpatient therapy program are there for support with substance and alcohol abuse. Yesterday one of the students was graduating from the program and left a testimonial on the board at the end of class.
This particular student shared how much mindfulness, in particular, helped him. He enjoyed learning more about his thoughts and how his brain works. He was always open-minded and excited about the class. The counselor mentioned to him that he did so well in the program because of his open-mindedness and persistence. He showed up and gave it his all each time.
Yoga and mindfulness offer people an opportunity to increase self-awareness. This empowers the individual to be able to get their thoughts under control, rather than having their thoughts control them.
If you’ve ever experienced stress or anxiety you might notice that your thoughts are fast-paced and potentially negative in these moments. We can teach youth to pause, take a breath and then choose their thoughts/actions- a lifelong practice. Planting the seed early will build that ‘muscle’ so it can become second nature.
The thing about all this yoga/mindfulness ‘stuff’ is it’s a practice. Over time it changes us. It changes our minds, bodies, and behaviors. It has the ability to empower us to choose. “Is this the road I really want to go down?” “Are these the thoughts/beliefs I truly want to choose?” If we don’t have self-awareness, we never get a choice.
Yoga and mindfulness help us strip away layers of ego to get to the core of our true being. Our authentic self.
When anxiety is in ‘beast-mode’ our thoughts tend to be negative. Think about the quality of your thoughts when you are overwhelmed, tired, thrown off and irritable. Imagine feeling that way ALL. THE. TIME.
Yoga and mindfulness are tools that build self-awareness, resilience, compassion and emotional regulation. If we can decide what thoughts, words, and actions we are going to choose rather than having our thoughts/emotions rule us, we can change our lives.