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Teaching Yoga for Teen Stress Management - What Parents Should Know

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
May 22, 2008
Are you looking for an alternative method, instead of a prescription, for your stressed-out teenager, at home? If you have researched natural methods to lower the levels of anxiety, and stress - Yoga is probably a top consideration, by now.

Before you make any quick decisions, you should discuss your options with your primary care or family physician. If you do not like what you hear, you can always get a second or third opinion. Sometimes, a prescription is a solution, but prescriptions can have side effects, so you want to be aware of all of them.

You can research any prescribed drug by entering the name of the drug, in a search engine, on the Internet. You will find details, forums, or lists of common, and not so common, side effects. You can also check with Web MD.

This is not meant to scare you, but to help you make an informed decision. There are times, when the local pharmacist knows more about the side effects of a prescription than anyone. So, it is worth your while to discuss the subject with him or her.

Prescribed medicine may also be addictive. In order to lower stress levels, CNS (central nervous system) depressants can be prescribed to slow the brain functions down. Some of these are very addictive, so this may be a temporary solution. Yet, prescription medicines are also life savers. Due to the quick results, prescription medicine may be your first choice.

In comparison, Yoga has no such side effects, but the positive results may take weeks or months to see. Depending upon the situation, Yoga may be used as an adjunctive therapy at first. Later on, Yoga may become the primary therapy for stress management.

Yoga has many uses, but establishing family bonds is a valuable part of the practice. What should you do if the family ties between a parent and child were not so strong to start with? Sometimes, a parent and teen are complete strangers to each other.

For example: What if the family became separated, went through a divorce, if the children were brought up by a day care system, or if one of the parents was so career-oriented that family ties were not a priority? It is never too late to re-establish family ties, but there is much repair to be done.

Yoga, and other non-competitive activities, give both parties a chance for joint participation, without an adult being portrayed as the controlling parent or teacher. Activities, which are non-competitive, such as Yoga, give both parent and teen some "breathing room."

One point for estranged parents to be aware of is - it takes time and a long-term commitment to develop strong family ties. Joint participation, in Yoga classes, gives time to repair the relationship. At the same time, Yogic philosophy guides teens to develop many good health practices.

In Hatha Yoga classes, careful alignment of the spine is emphasized, muscles are strengthened, the body becomes balanced, flexibility is enhanced, and a sound mind is developed.

The value of a healthy spine is overlooked, by those who are lucky enough to take it for granted, but it is a crucial nervous center. The spinal maintenance aspect is a valuable habit to learn at a young age. Yoga practice helps to create some space between the vertebrae, thus extending the life of our spine, and helping us to stay pain free in our later years.

With all the emphasis on good health, and developing awareness, teens that practice Yoga are less likely to be pressured into substance abuse or "following the leader."

As teens approach adulthood, some of the best gifts parents can bestow on them, beside love, are: Establishing good health habits, the ability to see things as they are, and the ability to think for themselves. Yoga prepares teens for all of their challenges.

Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He is an author of many books on the subject of Yoga and has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

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