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Teaching Yoga for Teen Stress Management - It's a Matter of Perspective

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
May 22, 2008
Yoga is a viable solution to teen stress. However, some adults cannot understand the nature of teen anxiety and stress. Some will state that "Kids nowadays have it better than any previous generation." This reminds me of the self-absorbed statement, "I have problems of my own."

Adults are often familiar with terms like: Commuter traffic, job burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome, and work overload. These are the conditions adults recognize as stressors, but let's take a close look at just one of them.

Work overload is what happens when your co-workers were terminated, in order to streamline the company. Afterward, management decides that you must do your job and the work of your former co-workers. They also demand that you accomplish all of this within 40 hours per week.

After you are "pulling your hair out" to do the impossible for a few weeks, your company lets you know that you can work unlimited overtime. By now, you have come to the realization that you will never be able to keep up with all the work, even if you work 84 hours per week.

So, what's the problem? You will make a lot of money, sacrifice family time, and give up your personal life. After all, we have it better than any previous generation, right? I hope you see my point.

Stress is different for all of us. A teenager may feel like the world is "caving in," when Mom and Dad get a divorce, peer pressure gets out of hand, or final exams are coming up. Adults have felt high stress levels before.

Most teens are becoming self-aware for the first time. This is why Yoga is such a good form of therapy. In fact, it would be wise to expose children to Yoga classes at an early age. As a result, each child would learn how to handle stress and anxiety at an early age.

Teens will respond to a Yoga class, with their peers, above all other age groups. Unless they have a nurturing personality, teens are not usually a good fit in a kids Yoga class. Sometimes, after-school activities, in high schools or junior high schools, will have Yoga as a choice. If there is no demand for teen Yoga classes in your area, adult classes will be the next best thing.

Over the years, it has been observed that concerned parents are puzzled by the sudden lack of communication with teens at home. This is usually a critical point in human life, as teens look over the horizon, toward adulthood. Suddenly, the "happy go lucky" attitude changes to a serious drone.

Many parents feel as if their teen has become a stranger. What can parents do to help their teens? One solution is to find joint activities, for parents and children, long before they become teens. This reinforces bonds during critical points in the lives of both parent and child.

Yoga is one such activity, but there are many more. Some families go hiking, skiing, biking, or participate in a variety of sports, together. There is no limit to the number of activities, but parents should make a concerted effort to resist the role of a demanding coach. Turning a fun activity, into a pressure situation, is one sure way to force someone to drop out of it.

This is why Yoga is such a nice fit for the parent / child relationship. If you throw competition out the window, Yoga is an individual learning process. The rewards of a family practice are good health and re-establishing family ties.

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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