- Teens can benefit from learning yoga relaxation skills.Yoga pose image by huaxiadragon from Fotolia.com
Teenagers cope with stress, depression and anxiety as much as adults do, yet they tend to have fewer tools and options for coping with these difficult feelings. Yoga can help teens learn to relax. It also helps them develop enhanced study skills and increased ability to navigate difficult situations with family and friends. For a teen looking to start a home yoga practice, these poses offer a good foundation to acquiring relaxation skills.
- This pose provides the best position to learn yoga breathing and can instill tranquillity. Rest on your back, arms alongside the body with palms facing the ceiling. Close your eyes and notice your breathing. The word "yoga" means union. When practicing yoga poses, you unite body and mind using the breath. Before learning yoga, most people breath in a very rapid fashion, taking several short, quick breaths per minute, leaving them close to hyperventilation and more vulnerable to panic attacks. Gradually, allow each inhale-exhale pair to become more even and permit the breaths to grow longer, taking fewer breaths per minute.
- Sit in a cross-legged position on the floor. If you feel uncomfortable sitting this way or if your knees lift higher than your hipbones in this position, place a folded blanket beneath your pelvis. Align shoulders above hips and permit the neck to lengthen out so your ears lift away from your shoulders and the crown of your head reaches skyward. Take your right arm across the front of your body to your left thigh muscle, then reach your left arm behind you, placing it behind the right sitbone. Exhale, and without tensing your shoulders, use your arm muscles to turn your upper body toward the left. Keep your head upright, with your chin over the center of your chest. Inhale and return to center. Repeat for your opposite side.
- Mountain pose is the basic standing position in yoga. It may not look like a yoga pose, but for most people, simply standing upright rather than slouching creates a difference in how they breathe, as well as how they feel in their bodies. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, big toes turned very slightly inward so that the second toe on each foot points straight ahead. Avoid locking your knees, and subtly engage your leg muscles by very slightly rotating your inner thighs forward and your outer thighs backward. Position your shoulders over your hips and permit your shoulders to relax. This position teaches you how to use your muscles to gain the same ease and openness for full lung breathing that you have while resting in savasana.
- Begin in mountain pose. Keeping your gaze straight ahead and your head level, choose a point in the room to focus your gaze. Bending your right knee, lift onto your tiptoes on your right foot only. Rotate your entire right leg outward from the hip socket so your right knee faces right. Engage more strongly on the inside of the left thigh and the big toe edge of the left foot so you feel strong and centered. Slowly raise your right foot off the floor. Eventually, you want the sole of the foot to press on the left inner thigh, but if this seems difficult at first, try lifting your foot to touch just below your left knee joint. Slowly raise your arms to make the branches of the tree, letting your side body lengthen and permitting your shoulders to lower as your arms rise. Hold for five breaths, then lower your arms and raised leg. Repeat for your opposite side. Tree pose aids in skills of both inner and outer balance as well as teaching concentration skills.