Teaching teenagers can be difficult but extremely rewarding! The traditional “How was school?” question often results in the typical “fine” answer. How can we connect with teenagers? Utilizing yoga techniques in a fun and engaging way can be a great solution.
Essential Oil Feathers
When the teenagers walk into class, I give them an option of essential oils to spray on their feather (typically lavender or eucalyptus). They enjoy the fact that they are able to choose. The teens can use their feather throughout class to practice breathing or just to rest on their body.
Mandala Coloring Pages
The best transitional tool to help teens switch from a school class to yoga is providing mandala coloring pages. They love these and usually have a difficult time putting them down!
Journaling & Goal Setting
Depending on the theme, I sometimes give the students 2 minutes of unfiltered journal writing. This means there is no erasing, which can be very therapeutic! I provide pieces of paper that have prompts in case they are stuck. In one prompt, for example, I challenge the teens to make goals for the year. Why did they sign up for yoga? What do they want to accomplish? As the session goes on, we discuss the progress and see how we can help each other out.
Yoga sequencing for teens can be very tricky. I prefer to start with a simple adult yoga flow with holding poses for a shorter period of time. The music I use is directed towards their age group. I like to ask for music requests on the first day. In terms of sequencing, I lean more toward the restorative side, but still incorporate challenging yoga poses. I provide them with practical uses of the poses. For example, supine twists are great if you are having trouble sleeping, and bunny breathing is perfect to prepare for studying. I always end with a long savasana. It seems like teenagers really need and love this part the most!
I hand out little pieces of paper that have a particular affirmation for that week. I challenge them to focus on that affirmation throughout their week. The next week we discuss their affirmation, and it’s amazing to see what they accomplish!
Teenagers are bombarded with pressure from teachers, friends, and parents. Yoga can be a great tool to help teens release from all that pressure. I guide the teens through the class but never pressure them to participate. When we are doing more difficult balancing postures, I always remind them that it’s okay to fall. I let them know that I sometimes even fall myself! I act much more as a guide than a teacher when teaching teens versus children.
Connecting with teens can be difficult but don’t give up! It can be very rewarding, and I know the students appreciate having you in their lives!
Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and beyond! KAY even offers an online specialty course designed specifically for people who want teach teens and tweens the lifelong skills and benefits of a yoga practice (TeenKAY).