Over the last couple of years I have become more and more interested in how I can bring yoga together with my art therapy practice.
It seems to me that yoga can complement very well my approach to working with young people to develop a stronger sense of themselves, identity, self awareness, acceptance and compassion for self and others. Part of this process which art therapy cannot offer alone is to give young people the chance to become present in their bodies and to notice what comes up (without judgement and criticism). Perhaps also to resist or navigate the power of peer pressures around body image in particular but also more general pressures around friendships, family, school, developing identity, sex and sexuality and so on by becoming more grounded in a stronger sense of their own self.
My Yoga training
I am currently doing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (Yoga Alliance accredited) with Universal Yoga. I have previously taken the Complete Yoga Alliance TeenYoga Teacher training with Charlotta Martinus from TeenYoga; empowering teens through yoga and mindfulness and including the latest neuroscience, mindfulness research and disciplinary techniques. This builds on my previous training; Yoga for neurodevelopmental differences training (with Dr Lucy Clarke) introducing yoga and mindfulness for people with Autism and ADHD and the Special Yoga Foundation training, Getting Started Teaching yoga and mindfulness to teens.
Soon I’ll be running one to one and group yoga sessions which include art therapy to help young people relax, focus and concentrate. Watch this space *** Supporting them to develop self awareness and a positive relationship with themselves starting with compassion and acceptance. I really believe art therapy and yoga together can offer something innovative and positive to young people as they navigate their way through times of anxiety, stress and confusion and start to build a stronger sense of self and find ways to express themselves creatively without judgement and fear.
Yoga can support a young persons wellbeing and help them to develop mind and body skills to deal with the stresses of life.
Benefits of yoga for teenagers
- Reducing anxiety
- Building resilience
- Connecting with a stronger sense of self
- Improving concentration
- Developing confidence
- Being in the moment, developing an acceptance of the here and now and self as you are now
- Connecting with and respecting how you feel, how your body feels, your thoughts
- Noticing your own reactions feelings thoughts and being curious about them rather than judging them
- Stillness and focus on inner calm
- Not being competitive with yourself or others
- Becoming more aware of your own needs and valuing your own thoughts and feelings
- Trusting yourself
- Building connections with others
- Getting to know your self better – insight, self reflection
- Being yourself – being brave enough to express your own ways of being
- Helping to manage ‘negative’ or difficult emotions
- Developing optimism and hope
- ‘Self regulation’ getting some sense of control over thoughts, emotions and actions
- Strength and flexibility
What could a yoga session to help with stress and anxiety include
Breathwork – looking at how we breathe and how we can do it in a way that will help us to feel grounded and calm in mind and body (this helps to reduce anxiety)
Knowledge – Understanding what’s happening in the body when we get stressed or anxious and the benefits of yoga for the mind and body
Learning and practicing a few simple yoga postures that you can practice at home that will help let go of stress and anxiety
YOGA IS FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE – YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE!
www.teenyoga.co.uk for more information about the TeenYoga network that I am part of.