Entry Title

How do You Share Yoga with Teenagers During a Pandemic?

Teaching Teenagers Yoga during a Pandemic

 

How do you share yoga with teenagers during a pandemic?  This is not a question we would have ever considered relevant prior to last March.  When schools closed for in-person learning and many governors enacted stay-at-home orders, we were all faced with a new reality.

 

At the time, I was teaching yoga to three classes of middle schoolers at Mountain Academy in Jackson, WY. Our classes changed to an online format and my students now appeared in tiny squares on my screen, delineated by their “Brady Bunch”-like borders.  

 

No longer were kids distracted by classroom dynamics.  Their focus on their practice dramatically improved but it was not a gain I savored.  A regular middle school classroom is gregarious and has energy that is palpable and appropriate.  

 

Still the new zoom platform meant that some kids were ready to go to the next level of challenge in a pose. Once, I led a seventh-grade boy to do his first Side Crow Arm Balancing Pose.  He was overjoyed and his smile infectiously registered with me through the screen.

 

Being separated from peers opens up opportunity for self-reflection.  After doing 10-15 minutes of rigorous and energy-giving standing pose, teachers can query (via zoom chat or unmuting) what effect students feel in their body.   Different than a classroom setting, students have the privacy of their own space to tune their attention inwardly without common middle school distractions.  Also, teachers can unmute one student to highlight them, elevating their engagement with the class.

 

While we can find the silver linings of zoom yoga classes for middle schoolers, the truth is that is painful to watch such isolation at a tender, socially-driven age.  I noticed my own (then) 13-year-old daughter get sucked into her multiple screens for hours, doing online school on one screen, while managing contact and response on social media and texting on another.  Without physical exercise, middle schoolers can go haywire or become sullen.

 

I knew yoga could help with the new reality which was sedentary, screen-driven, and solitary.  

 

I invited my daughter to do short classes with me that we could film and share.  I was grateful that she agreed, especially knowing that she is not one to want the spotlight. 

 

In these classes which spanned four months, I offered sequences that would engage and challenge. 

·      I provided just enough instruction to get into poses with the intention that she and other teen students could experience the poses (and not worry about pleasing the instructor or getting it “right”). 

·      I provided opportunity to ground through arms and legs and to get upside down, also to experience poses and get out of their head.  

·      I created the chance to interact with parents and do class together.  I experimented with partner poses that were still Covid-safe. 

·      I guided relaxation poses so that teens could deeply relax their bodies and most especially their minds.  

 

These classes are now available for viewing and practice.  I hope these classes inspire parents and yoga teachers for how they might provide effective classes for their own teen students.  The titles of these classes in order of filming them are as follows:

 

  • “Coronication”                       
  • Active and Calm
  • Parent and Teen Class 
  • Smooth Moves
  • Easy Elements                         

 

Visit YogaMinded Studio to purchase a one year subscription to the Yoga for Teens Video bundle. Scroll down to find Yoga for Teens.  Use coupon code "TeensNeedYoga" for 25% off.