Many teens regularly experience stress and anxiety. Teaching yoga to teens gives them a healthy way to manage stress, and it's a practice that can be employed for life. Yoga also helps teenagers gain strength, flexibility and mental focus. Most yoga poses are easy to learn and practice for teens.
YogaJournal.com editor and teen yoga instructor Erica Rodefer, recommends backbends for teens to counteract the effects of sitting in desks for long periods. Backbends also help teens let go a little, reminding them of the joys of childhood. Easy backbend poses include Bow pose, Camel and Wheel pose. Teens can ease into backbends with Bridge pose, Sphinx, Upward Dog or Cobra pose.
A sequence of yoga poses provides flow to a routine, making it more interesting for teenagers. As they learn the sequence, they can perform it at their own pace. A basic Sun Salutation flows through multiple poses including Mountain, forward bend, lunges, plank, Child's Pose, Upward Dog and Downward Dog. The Moon Salutation is recommended as a way for teens to unwind at the end of the day and prepare for bedtime. Although there are different versions of the sequence, most Moon Salutations include Heart-Opening pose, Crescent Moon, Goddess and Windmill pose.
Seated poses are easy to learn and provide a good stretch without demanding balance. Seated poses that focus on the leg muscles include Seated Forward Bend, Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend, Bound Angle pose and Head-to-Knee Forward Bend. Marichi's pose, Half Lord of the Fishes pose and Bharadvaja's Twist provide hip and spine stretches. Cow Face pose opens the chest and stretches the shoulders while also stretching the hips.
Rodefer also recommends resting poses for teenagers. Resting poses allow teens to relax and let go of anxiety or negative emotions. While resting, teens can focus on breathing deeply in and out and letting go of all thoughts that enter their minds. Effective and easy resting poses include Corpse pose, Child's pose and Legs Up the Wall pose. The more practice teens have with resting poses, the easier it will become to employ breathing or relaxation methods throughout the day as needed.
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