I just completed a full trimester with a wonderful group of high school students. Sometimes it’s hard to know when older students have enjoyed or found benefits to their yoga practice (with the little ones, they’ll tell you directly), so I lent 5 minutes of class time to having students write their most favorite and least favorite yoga activities of the past few months on a paper and answers were kept anonymous. Across the board, the students loved yoga-inspired teamwork activities, partner yoga (click for video sample), challenging poses like full wheel, trying out visualization meditations and number one,
“Yoga was something I had never done before and I am really glad I took it. Thank you.”
“I learnt to trust myself.”
“I always leave feeling relaxed and less stressed.”
“Overall, awesome, relaxing class.”
“I love yoga so much. I told my mom that I want to do yoga for the rest of my life!”
What didn’t they like? Just as I had thought for so many years: repetitive vinyasa sequences and simply doing poses that looked and felt more like an exercise class. These types of activities were perceived as “boring” and “tedious” on nearly every comment sheet.
Of course, some activities are necessary to properly educate and warm-up yoga students (you wouldn’t skip learning multiplication and division because your math students didn’t like it), but I think looking at this simple feedback could be helpful to teachers who work with teenagers. Though most are certainly capable of keeping up with an adult-style class, I often find teachers who use this approach end up with students who “just didn’t like yoga”. By incorporating sophisticated games and challenges (nothing too babyish), your teens can like going to yoga and even ask for more. It may be trial and error, but once you have your formula, they will want to come back!