Yoga for Teenagers
By Dr. Prafulla Dorle - Dr. Prafulla is a Doctor, senior yoga teacher
and yoga therapist from Yoga Vidya Gurukul. He has rich experience in Anatomy &
Physiology of Yoga practices, he is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 10
years along with his medical profession.
Yoga for Teenagers
The Teen age is the changeover in life. It is the time of transitions in life, the age which marks the end of childhood and the start of youth. This major changeover in life is marked by changes on a mental, emotional and physical level. It is also the time when responsibilities and expectations are increasing.
The major problems during this age are that of emotional disturbance, depression, anxiety, loneliness and lack of concentration. This young generation is in a mind state of rebelling against the society and against tradition. They become more aggressive and restless, ideas and thoughts in the mind increase and it is a time when the mind can become obsessed by one single thought, without the ability to discriminate between the good and bad. Anti-social thoughts in the mind may increase and they try to break the barriers of tradition and social rules. They always want a new means of expression and rectification of the so called injustice done to them. On the physical level they experience many changes in their body such as the development of secondary sexual characteristics and of the sex organs, as well as the pumping of sex hormones in the body. These changes during puberty can be disturbing if they are not aware and/or educated about it. It is also the time when they feel the need for venting out their sexual urge and energy. All these problems can be attributed to the imbalance in the emotional, physical, mental and pranic levels. The pineal gland begins to degenerate at the age of eight years. At the same age the pituitary gland development is accelerated. The pituitary gland in turn accelerates the release of various hormones in the body. All the endocrine glands are stimulated and they release their hormones into the blood. The sex hormones are released into the blood at the same time. It can become difficult for the child to cope with these powerful sex hormones as it occurs before the child has the mental and emotional stability as well as the maturity. It can cause an imbalance of the mental and physical development and the utilisation of their bioenergy. Because of this imbalance the various endocrine glands in the body are unable to coordinate and cooperate with each other, leading to various behavioural problems. In particular, the functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands is important as they control various emotions, moods and stress on the human body.
Yoga can help to correct this imbalance. It helps to develop the mental and emotional maturity to coordinate with the physical effects of various hormones. The practice of surya namaskar, deep breathing and chanting of mantras will delay the process of degeneration of the pineal gland. Because of this the hormone release in the blood is delayed till the child is mentally and emotionally prepared for the influence of various hormones on the body. The practice of shambhavi mudra helps to improve the functioning of the pineal gland and delays the secretion of sex hormones.
Asanas -The practice of all the major asanas along with surya namaskar should be increased at this age as it helps to make use of the excessively imbalanced physical energy in a proper manner. In particular, asanas like shoulder stand, fish pose and half spinal twist help to balance the endocrine system.
Meditation -The practice of meditation should be limited to the chanting of mantra and visualisation. During this time it is difficult to concentrate and meditate by closing the eyes. The mind if not mature enough, it needs something concrete which can be seen or touched. So the open eye meditation ?trataka? will be helpful to calm down the mind and increase concentration. Visualisation of abstract and concrete things will be helpful in balancing the mind and emotions.
Relaxation -Relaxation by yoga nidra can help to reprogram the brain. It will give time for the child to be with himself. The practice of yoga nidra helps to reconsider and reconstruct the positive thought processes in the mind. It will also help to balance the various emotions and moods.
Deep breathing -Deep breathing practices should be practiced without retention or kumbhaka. In short the ancient life moulding science of yoga will help to keep the balance of the disturbing factors within a teenager?s life and help them to develop their body and vitalise their mind.