The benefits of yoga on body, mind and spirit have been known and practiced in the United States for decades.
Yoga can be both relaxing and invigorating once one learns to tune in to the effects of the various postures and movements.
The physical self gains strength due to the use of many muscles not always exercised in day to day living or in other workouts and sports. The body also learns to align itself better and regains balance both skeletally and internally. Organ function, posture, circulation, digestion, and muscle flexibility begin to improve and move naturally toward a more balanced state with continued practice.
The mind learns to find stillness that aids the body through breathing techniques and focused meditation. After a time yoga helps practitioners tap their full potential and this can lead to both a successful outlook on life and spiritually to inner peace and outward compassion.
In today's world of increasing sports' participation, your body can begin to focus on just one area. For example, if you are a runner you may gain great muscular strength in your legs, but this is not balanced with the rest of your body. Yoga helps to harmonize the body and bring all aspects of self into balance.
Teens are living in that in-between place of childhood and adulthood. This in itself causes an imbalance in them emotionally. If we add to that the imbalances of racing hormones, growth spurts, ever increasing societal pressures, and a world that is also changing around them, it is easy to imagine the benefits of yoga for them.
Lauren Benson, previously a city High School English teacher, opened Veda Yoga Space at 1862 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, New York during the fall of 2009. It is her belief as a practitioner and instructor that what makes yoga so valuable to teens is that it addresses internal issues rather than external ones, something for which they are very much in need. Yoga tunes the body and leads to a more positive self-concept, bringing confidence, acceptance, and gratitude. "It challenges kids to be still, something that is very hard for them."
Stillness leads to awareness of self, emotionally and mentally, eventually shifting perspective from self to a world view. Young people make new connections to themselves and others, viewing them as equals. They begin to experience true feelings of empathy and compassion. It also aids in clearer decision making.
Lauren has practiced for nine years and obtained certification in Hatha Yoga from the Himalayan Institute. She now teaches several classes meeting the needs of individuals of all ages and abilities each week. A recent addition to her offerings at Veda Yoga Space is a Monday yoga program designed specifically for teens from 4:30-5:30pm. Students in this teen class range in age from 12-18.
As Lauren said about her own introduction to yoga, it kept coming into her life until she finally listened. Yoga is a practice that can come into your teen's life too, leading them to a whole new awakening.