the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
We are a stressed-out nation. In 2014, nearly 77% of Americans claimed to be affected physically by stress (stress.org). They reported more aches and pains, more trouble sleeping and lack of happiness.
Stress affects every cell in your body. It puts the body in a fight or flight response meaning the body sees this stress as a threat and must protect the body. This is a great response system if we were face-to-face with an emergency like providing CPR to a stranger. But, if they are constantly placing unnecessary pressure on the body, it changes the cell’s structure making it harder for the body to relax when there is no danger.
Chronic stress can begin as early childhood. Young kids feel pressure to please adults and behave to social norms. As they become teenagers, they have to manage their own emotions and changing bodies. They navigate friendships and personalities. They balance their own expectations as well as their parents’ and teachers’ expectations of them. They are transitioning from young children to mature adults.
Stress is not good for us or them. Awareness of this stress and its effects on the body is the first step in reversing this chronic disease. (Yes, I call it a disease as it has been cited as a root cause of diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and mental illness.) Starting alternative healing methods such as yoga, mindfulness and breathing at a young age gives one the tools he/she needs to handle the endless amount of stress thrown at adults.
Yoga, in its physical practice, allows a teenager (or adult) or become aware of their body and listening for warning signs its gives. It also builds strength and flexibility creating more self-confidence to trust oneself. In addition, breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation settle the mind by allowing one to focus and create space between their thoughts. These are life-saving tools our youth can take with them to be more successful and happier adults.
Here are a few tips on how to get a yoga practice started for you or your young adult.
If it drains our energy, it is causing stress. The more aware you become of yourself, the more you will notice what causes the stress and how you can better manage it.
Om Shanti. Peace to you.
If you are looking to expose your child to yoga, I welcome kids ages 10 and up in my regular classes. First class is free!