Here’s How You Can Improve Your Child’s Mental Health Through Yoga
Any parent of a teenager can confirm that the teens of today are facing considerable stress in many forms. Education has become more challenging, peer pressure is mounting, and society places pressures of its own on their shoulders. A teenager’s mind is still developing, and self-regulation is an important concept to introduce to them at this stage of development. In a teenager, the part of the brain that keeps impulse control in check and controls reactions to stress and other challenging situations needs growth. It is very helpful to practice mindfulness and meditation or yoga to pacify the limbic system and enhance the part of the brain that is responsible for all these things (prefrontal cortex).
Teen yoga is an excellent practice not only for your child’s physical health but also their mental well-being. It can serve as a powerful and positive tool for promoting better mental health. There is no need to turn to synthetic medications to treat your stressed-out teen. A healthy and strong mind means that your teen is protected against alcohol and substance abuse and develops a habit of self-care. Even for teens who are in recovery from addiction problems, yoga proves to be a great tool to avoid instances of relapse by reducing fear and stress.
Benefits Of Yoga to Teens
While the benefits on mental health are significant, the benefits of yoga extend further to that of your teen’s physical health, as well. Yoga strengthens the respiratory system and can be of great assistance in athletic teenagers who will feel more confident while playing. An increase in self-esteem is an excellent thing for teens and feeling more in control of their bodies and their feelings are vital. Teen yoga increases enthusiasm as well as positivity, and this can help counteract any ill feelings or negativity that may be present.
There are many emotions that stem from stress, like depression, anger, frustration, and even loneliness. If your teen is under stress, which is highly likely, then you are correct to be concerned about their emotional health. Poor emotional health is what leads to other problems, like poor performance in their school work or even developing eating or social disorders. Encouraging your teen to participate in yoga practice will be a big step in fighting anxiety caused by stress and help your teen to deal with their difficult feelings and the challenges they are confronting.
Past studies show that approximately 32% of teenagers struggle with anxiety disorders, and there is a growing concern over the fact that effective treatments are few and far between. There has also been a link found between the increase in screen time and this increase in anxiety, proving that social media is directly contributing to poor mental health. While we cannot fight social media, we can certainly encourage our teenage children to engage in mindful practices to reduce the effects of the use of social media.
Teen yoga should also incorporate the practices of pranayama, which is breath training, and‘asana, which are the physical poses. Both these elements work hand-in-hand to fight off teen stress. These practices are also easy to engage in and will not need a lot of time or effort on your teen’s part. A stressed-out teenager is unlikely to want to add a new and difficult task to their lives. The easier the practices, the more likely your teen will engage in them – and more importantly, stick to them! Therefore, when introducing your teen to their first poses, it is best to choose the simplest of poses. Examples of these are the mountain pose, the warrior pose, standing forward fold, downward dog, and the Cobra.
Like yoga, mindfulness training is an element of meditation and is composed of practices like mindful breathing, body scanning, and learning how to detach yourself from your thoughts. Mindfulness training can also show the same benefits as teen yoga in terms of mental health, attendance and grades, and general behavior.
So, make sure that you help your teenager through the most difficult years of their pre-adult lives by introducing them to the benefits of yoga and mindfulness. Help your teen to grow comfortable with the poses and the practices as they may feel uncomfortable at first. Doing the poses and activities together may help your teen feel more comfortable. This is the first step towards a healthier body and mind!
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