This teenager’s description of her relationship to yoga is very profound yet presented like a breath of fresh air.
It’s New Year’s Eve, 2014. My dad’s upstairs watching the ball drop on TV, all of my sisters are either sleeping or reading in their bedroom, and I’m in my room, scrolling through YouTube, adding one yoga video after another to my newest playlist. Why?
My top New Year’s Resolution is to get my splits, and for once, after years (and the quitting) of dance class and Taekwondo, I am determined to get there. Little did I know, however, was all the priceless discoveries I’d still be making seven months later.
How Yoga Has Changed Me
My life is always busy, but hey, what teenager do you know who isn’t? Besides living with three sisters and my parents, we’re always juggling camping trips, voice lessons, work, speech team, high school bowling, etc. To top it off, in 2012 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Juvenile Dermatomyositis, and even though I am in “remission on medication,” flexibility and strength were completely wiped out of the equation of my life for a good six months.
I wouldn’t say yoga has kick-started my recovery (let’s hand that over to prednisone, methotrexate, and some vigorous physical therapy), but it definitely has helped me regain my flexibility. When I first did King Pigeon pose (as shown above), I was overjoyed!
Yoga is exploration. Many of my friends at school view yoga as a “girl’s sport,” something that’s way too easy. And yes, some of it may seem easy, but I try to pull off Wheel pose, and I just can’t. And it makes me more determined than ever to reach it.
My Benefits From Yoga (And for Every Teen)
- I am an explorer. Yoga gives me the chance to explore my innermost emotions and boundaries. It teaches me to let go of envy and embrace hope, to test the area just beyond the edge of my comfort zone, and find joy in doing so.
- Renewed strength, flexibility, and balance. I haven’t reached my splits yet, but I’m not stopping until I do! Plus all those vinyasas tone up your triceps like nothing else!
- Balanced hormones. All of my friends ask me what new product I’m using. It’s fun to watch their expression when I tell them it’s yoga.
- Peace. I find I am at peace with myself more than ever before. Yoga lets me put aside my to-do list and take a chance to calm down, to refresh myself. It feels so great to let everything go for five minutes and reconnect with myself.
Other, more minor benefits I’ve had is deeper sleep and (ha!) less arguments with my sisters. I absolutely love to do yoga outside (I bring my mat every time we go camping), and it’s really opened up my appreciation for nature.
Yet all I want to do is encourage more teens to try yoga. I hypothesize that if even 20% of the kids at my school did yoga, we would pretty much be able to stop all of the bullying that goes on there. Yoga is NOT a girl’s easy excuse of a workout. Yoga is a way for all teens to be happy, healthy, and confident.
by Lindsey Grady – Lindsey lives in Iowa and besides doing yoga, she loves kickboxing, running, and dancing. Her dream career is being a dietitian at a children’s hospital so she can work with teens with autoimmune disorders like hers. Know more about Lindsey here or connect with her thru Facebook.