Welcome to Embodied Youth,
Namaste! That’s Sanskrit for “The good in me recognizes the good in you.” We say it before and after all yoga classes.
My name is Michelle, owner and founder of EY, and I’m so glad you stopped by. Embodied Youth is yoga therapy for kids of all ages. Our goal is to bring high quality yoga therapy to kids and families in an approachable, convenient way.
But what’s yoga therapy? The International Association of Yoga Therapists defines yoga therapy as “the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.” At EY we base our techniques and practices on yoga originating from ancient India, updated with psychotherapeutic understanding and tailored to kids. So, yeah, we focus on yoga for kids’ mental health.
If you’re a teen, a kid, or the parent of one, you know life is pretty stressful these days. Social media has been a game changer in kids’ lives. Some research suggests that kids who are “heavy users of social media have a 27% higher risk of depression, while those who exceed the average time spent playing sports, hanging out with friends in person, or doing homework have a significantly lower risk” (Think Differently About Kids).
Any kind of yoga helps kids stay active. The difference with yoga therapy is that the yoga techniques are targeted to specific issues. A certified yoga therapist can customize yogic practices to meet an individual child’s mental and emotional needs, while also being mindful of the needs of growing bodies. In addition, yoga therapy can help families develop empathy and rekindle playful interaction. Just last week, I was working with a group of families whose kiddos struggle with anxiety. During group check out, one mom broke down crying because she was so moved by how much her daughter and she reconnected and had fun during their partner poses. She said it reminded her of playing with her daughter at a younger age.
I’ve been practicing yoga for 27 years. But it wasn’t til I started working with kids 13 years ago that I understood what yoga is all about. Many kids and teens naturally gravitate to yoga. Maybe that’s because kids love (and need) to move. Younger kids love to make up poses and funny names for them—yoga can help them exercise their imaginations as well as their bodies. For teens, yoga can help them find confidence and ways to unwind from the pressures of school, peers and family.
Several years ago, I worked with a 14-year-old girl who had been hospitalized for debilitating pain. Doctors tried all sorts of medications to no avail. I was asked to visit her to distract her from her pain. She said the simple breathing practice I taught her worked better than the pain meds. Once discharged from the hospital, she kept practicing the yogic breathing. About 6 months after that, she asked to see me regularly to help her with persistent anxiety. It turned out that anxiety was one of the triggers for her pain. And one of the things that made her anxious was the bullies at her middle school. I saw her on and off for individual yoga therapy all through her high school years. She started off an angry young kid who was bullied and then bullied others, and became a role model who taught her high school sports team yoga stretches before their games. By her senior year, she even helped start an anti-bullying campaign at her high school.
Now obviously yoga isn’t a cure-all, and not all kids are going to take to yoga the way this young woman did. However, for those who do enjoy yoga, it is a life long gift. Once a kid knows the practices, yoga becomes a lifetime coping skill. Kids tell me they learn to listen to their gut instincts more. Armed with yoga practices, kids can quiet their minds, which become so cluttered with all the chatter of social media chats and day-to-day worries. Then one day those kids turn into adults who know how to pause before reacting, take care of themselves so they don’t burn out, and practice empathy for others.
If this sounds like something you want for yourself or your kiddos, please join us. Our video subscription service launches this BLACK FRIDAY, November 23, 2018. An introductory discount will be offered Nov. 23-25. Try the Yoga for Sleep video some night when your child tells you she can’t sleep. Or press play on the Complete Sequence on a weekend when you want to connect and have fun with your family. If your family enjoys it, check your local rec center for live yoga classes to keep the momentum. And check back here regularly for new videos, audio meditations and blog posts, since we’ll be updating regularly! For further questions, email me.
The good in me recognizes the good in you,