A brand-new study points the way to fun, feel-good exercise that’s good for a teenager’s body and mind: Yoga. Conducted by a researcher from Boston’s Brigham and Women's Hospital, the study followed 51 11th- and 12th graders who took yoga classes or a regular high school phys-ed class for 10 weeks.
The students took a set of psychological tests before and after the program. The result? Mood problems, anxiety and negative emotions stayed the same or improved among yoga students, but grew worse among those taking regular PE. And nearly three out of four said they’d like to keep on doing yoga.
“Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health," says lead researcher Jessica Noggle, Ph.D. Yoga may help kids learn to cope with stress because its emphasis on relaxation, mindfulness and breathing make it more than just another physical-fitness routine. According to ChildLight Yoga, a teacher-training program for yoga instructors who work with kids and teens, yoga:
- develops/improves strength & flexibility
- improves concentration, focus & attention
- develops/improves balance & coordination
- improves general body awareness
- boosts self-confidence and self-esteem
- improves sleeping patterns
- encourages mind/body connection
- promotes calm and ability to be less reactive
- expands creative expression & imagination
- promotes respect for self & others
Want to learn more? You’ll find a safe, simple, teen-friendly yoga routine in the teens section of the Nemours Foundation’s KidsHealth Web site. Remind your teen that yoga isn’t competitive – it’s all about doing what you can. Experts recommend focusing on these elements if your teen wants to try yoga at home or in one of the teen yoga classes popping up at local yoga studios: