TYF LogoWe are going to carry out a survey. It is now more than ten years since Teen Yoga began, and more than 600 Teen Yoga teachers have been trained. Though we are in contact with many, we don’t have information about what everyone is doing.

The aim is to find out how many young people are involved, the frequency of classes, the distribution across the country, the kinds of classes being taught, and so on. This information would be useful for all of us, because:

  • It can help teachers promote the value of yoga to schools and parents by showing the number of young people already doing yoga
  • It will also be of value to the Teen Yoga Foundation in our requests for funding, for our research and other activities.
  • Having a clear idea of the activity in the Teen Yoga community will help us to better adapt the work we do to the real needs ot teen yoga teachers and the young people they work with.

We have therefore decided to carry out a census of the Teen Yoga community, using an online survey, to be answered by anyone who is teaching yoga to young people. This survey only takes a few minutes.


Here is a link to the survey.


Please help us by filling out the survey yourself, and asking anyone else you know who teaches yoga to young people to answer it as well.

When the process is complete we will publish a report on the results.

All the information will be treated in the strictest confidence, in accordance with current UK data protection laws, and when presenting results all data will be anonymised.

Thank you!

Teen Yoga Foundation Census 2017

Instill speakers: Helen Clare

Yoga is for girls, softies and tree-hugging vegans – show us a yoga teacher who hasn’t heard this, especially one teaching teenagers. But Helen Clare has another view!

So, how do you get the reluctant boy – whether through ‘machoism’ or shyness – to the mat?

This is a bit of a thousand dollar question and it is often a case of trial and error to see what captures their interest. But as a yoga teacher of many years for young athletes, Helen Clare knows more than most about how to make yoga appeal to all – including those boys (and girls) at the back of the class.

She says: ‘I think that there is still some stigma about yoga only being for girls, or that is it easy. But I also think these preconceived perceptions are fading, with so many professional athletes publicly talking about yoga as being part of their daily life. This we can encourage.

Helen has a sporty background, something she keeps up now in her home of Cornwall, making her ideal to teach yoga to young people in school groups and local clubs.

‘I have always been into sports – a competitive swimmer throughout school and a keen runner. I now love to surf and run on the Cornish coast path. I teach yoga to many athletes of all sports and love to encourage young athletes to take it up early,’ she says.

So, where do you start when you’re (somewhat nervously) standing in front of a group of doubtful teens?

  • Famous yogis – talk about the sports stars who do yoga. The obvious ones are coach and former footballer Ryan Giggs and world number one tennis player Andy Murray. Even the stereotypical world of rugby has taken to the mat, with the England rugby team doing a few postures to get in peak fitness. If you have images – or better still a film clip – to show of sportspeople doing yoga, even better.
  • ‘Impressive’ postures – ok, yoga is non-competitive but showing a few challenging asanas will get their attention. Try arm balances such as crow for boys and some hip openers for girls – maybe pigeon.
  • Physical benefits – use a bit of anatomy and explain how yoga can boost your physical fitness and help with recovery, allowing the young athlete or sportsperson to return quicker and stronger to the field.

Helen says: ‘I love learning about the anatomy and combing that knowledge of our physiology with the breath and the focus that yoga brings. I love seeing people who come to yoga expecting to only benefit physically, gaining so much more!

And how do get a foot in the door initially to teach these benefits? Let those once sceptical students speak.

‘That was way better than I was expecting! I thought it was going to be really boring.. but that was awesome,’ says a Year 10 boy.


Helen will be sharing more tips and how teachers can specialise in yoga for athletes during her talk at the Instill conference, organised by the Teen Yoga Foundation, in November. Book here!

Find out more about Helen at https://helenclareyoga.com

Instill speakers: Robin

If like me, you are no longer a teenager, then it may prove slightly difficult to comprehend how practising yoga can relieve stress and reduced  anxiety for teens and their peers. After all, in order to fully digest new ideas, it can be beneficial to get experiential awareness of a suggestion or theory in order to verify, or at least relate to the essence of the idea. Not to worry; we can attempt to grasp the idea by talking to those with the actual empirical background.  Robin Watkins-Davis, who is 18,  is going to be part of a panel with other young teens at the upcoming Instill Conference this November, detailing and sharing her experiences of this incredible holistic tool.


Though her early teens were spent feeling angry and upset, Robin, through the practice of yoga, has created a world in which she says she feels ‘joyful and loved’.  These feelings have allowed her to attain growth in both her personal and academic life; ‘In terms of education, having awareness of my mind and body has helped select my thoughts carefully so that they motivate, encourage and support me in my learning’.  As a result, Robin feels that the many challenges and obstacles that teens face during adolescence can be met with a positive approach along with a greater sense of self belief.


One of the many by-products of yoga practice is a development and expansion of selflessness, which can of course initially seem strange considering yoga is about self-development.  Yet the many testaments to its nourishing benefits seem to be so profound, that it can only serve as a device to share.  In Robin’s case, her journey has not only allowed her to become comfortable in her own body and mind but has inspired her to become a yoga teacher, fulfilling her belief that everyone has ‘the right to know about this magical tool and practice, so that they too can then access it when they desire’.


It would be fair to suggest that it’s not always easy to educate and inspire young people; even if they are your peers.  After all teens often don’t take kindly to being told to do or try anything!  Robin suggests that the way to manoeuvre any resistance to yoga is through subtle suggestions that point towards the workings of the body and mind by touching upon messages of body image, self-confidence, notions of contentment, love, kindness and so forth.  This approach is gentle and calls upon light scientific principles so that the practice can be steered away from any religious or spiritual perceptions which can make teens feel uncomfortable.  This method of engagement fluidly allows for an open mind which is not only essential for academic learning but also in the context of a wider every-day, multicultural society.  Fundamentally though it is the rewards from inspiring others that keeps Robin motivated to share the gift of yoga:


“a young girl in year 9 recently said to me after class ‘I just love yoga because I was having a really bad day and now I feel great!’, others comment on how much it has helped them through anxiety and sleeping difficulties. So far, everyone who has come to yoga, including myself, detail their own unique story of how yoga has turned their life around for the better, so there is definitely a trend here and one not to ignore!”


So what are we waiting for?  To empathise with teens, we need to get into their mind frame, what better way to do this than by coming to see Robin and her friends share their experience at Instill!

Robbie Cully

Join us at the World Yoga Festival 2017

This weekend, from Friday 7th to Sunday the 9th of July, the Teen Yoga Foundation has a stall at the World Yoga Festival in Reading.

The World Yoga Festival has a wide range of speakers and activities, and looks like a very rewarding event to attend. We have certainly heard a lot of good feedback from people who went last year.  We have a stand at the festival in order to spread the word about our work at the Teen Yoga Foundation. We will be focusing especially on telling people about the Instill conference in November,  the Peace Day initiative which takes place in September, and on the survey of the Teen Yoga community that we are about to launch. We will say more about this exciting new intiative in a couple of days.

Please come and visit us to talk about our work, the more we talk, and the more suggestions you make, the more we can adjust our work to people’s needs. We are always looking for collaborators to find new ways of bringing the benefits of yoga to young people, and also sponsors who can help to support and  fund the research and advocacy we do, and if you have friends you know are going, please ask them to drop by for a chat.

The exact location is at Beale Park, near Reading.


The nearest station is Pangbourne, and it is 6.5 miles from Junction 12 on the M4. We hope to see you there!!

Yoga for Peace Day

The first step towards peace in the world, is the step into inner peace.

As we did last year, the Teen Yoga Foundation is celebrating Peace Day (21st September) with a fundraising event to help support the work we do, such as the recent support for those affected by the Manchester atrocity.

It is very simple 🙂


We ask you to donate the proceeds of one yoga class, on or around Peace Day to the Foundation.

You might be the teacher of this class, or you might tell your teacher about it. And dont just tell your teacher, tell you friends, tell everybody! It’s a great opportunity to introduce people to yoga.

If you have any questions contact us at info@teenyogafoundation.com

Alternatively, come and talk to us at our stall at the World Yoga Festival on the 7th to 9th July in Reading.

Instill conference schedule

After some complications, especially with the site, which has been down for a couple of weeks (apologies for that), we have now finalised the schedule for the Instill conference 2017. We have a balance of keynotes, workshops and panel debates on a range of subjects relating to yoga and education. We hope you find it interesting.

There is limited space at the conference, so book your tickets here soon!. In September we will be opening reservations for the workshops for ticket holders in order of booking.  Over the next weeks we will be posting about each of the speakers in turn, but for now, here are the details of the schedule.

11/11/17 – Instill conference



Yoga session



Plenary session: Yoga, education and research

Shirley Telles – the latest yoga research

Usha Nayar – yoga and inequality

Lee Atkins -measuring well being

Other speaker TBC





Parallel Sessions

Lisa Greenspan -Yoga as PSHE – DEBATE

Alison Jennings – Yoga in the PRU – WORKSHOP

Lucy Clarke – Yoga and ADHD – WORKSHOP

Yvonne Morey – Counselling skills for yoga teachers – WORKSHOP

Helen Clare – Yoga for athletes – WORKSHOP





Parallel sessions

Silvia Giovannoni – Yoga for creativity –- PLAYSHOP

Shaura Hall – Yoga for drug addiction – – WORKSHOP

Lisa Greenspan – Yoga for young offenders – WORKSHOP

Rhian Fox – Gender and yoga – DISCUSSION

Tristessa Moore – Yoga for exams – WORKSHOP



Panel debate – Teenagers in society

Coordinated by Robin Watkins-Davies

Closing remarks


Support for Manchester

On the 23rd of May our hearts broke at the news of 22 young lives cut short by a brutal and senseless killing. The innocence lost on that day is unimaginable and the suffering of friends, close ones and families beyond comprehension. At times like these we all want to do something but often feel locked in grief and confusion. Out of this horror and paralysis came the galvanisation of some well trained, experienced and local volunteers who want to support the children who are grieving and traumatised.

The most simple and immediate way to do this is for us to deliver a short programme to all teachers in the area who wish to receive it. So Charlotta Martinus is going to prepare specialists in this field to go out and train teachers in how to support young people during this difficult time.

The two hour training course is available  for free to any school that contacts us, subject to availability of teachers. The training includes simple ways to help to ground pupils through stretches, breathing exercises and soothing techniques. These techniques are evidence-based and have been extensively tested.

In addition to this the Life Centre in central Manchester has also gifted its space for classes for anyone affected by the attack, where there will be dedicated sessions every day during half term. The timetable for these classes is here and you can also see it in under Manchester Yoga Timetable in the menu bar on the left.

If you would like to support this work, please feel free to donate on this website, all money will go to supporting the teachers going into schools. (£35 per lesson)

Thanks for your continued support.

Instill conference 2017 update

After some reflection, we have decided to postpone the Instill conference to the autumn. A key reason for this is that since setting our dates, we have noticed that the conference dates clash with one of the largest yoga festivals in the UK in Reading, which many of our potential participants would like to go to.

Since we don’t want to place anyone in the difficult situation of having to choose between two very attractive options 😊, we are moving the conference to the autumn, in late October or early November 2017. Hopefully this is a good time for everyone.

Taking into account the advice we received from you after the last conference, we have built more participatory sessions into the programme this year, with a range of parallel sessions on the practical application of yoga in schools run by experts in the field, with plenty of time for discussion and exchange.

There is some work to do now, to reorganize the dates and venue, and reconfirm the programme, but in a month or so we will publish the new dates and programme. We hope you can still come and join us.

Meanwhile we may see you in Reading!

Come to the INSTILL 2017 Conference

After successful editions in 2015 and 2016, we are holding the Instill 2017 conference again in November 2017. We have decided to make it a one day event to reduce costs for people from outside London, and keep the overall price affordable. The date is Saturday 11th November (full day). Please book here.

This year at Instill 2017, in addition to the talks, discussions and panel debates of previous years we are adding practical workshops (so bring your mat!)

In order to include these workshops, and keep the price down, we have changed the venue this year. We will be holding the Instill 2017 conference at Pimlico Academy

The address is Pimlico Academy, Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street London SW1V 3AT.

As well the practical workshops, there will also be a special session organised and presented entirely by teenagers, focusing on their perceptions of yoga, education and society. The conference will also involve talks by expert speakers, audience participation in discussions around yoga and education, and practical workshops on subjects such as Gender in Yoga for Adolescents, and Yoga and Depression.

We will be publishing a detailed schedule very soon.

We hope you can attend Instill 2017, the price is 90 pounds, with a discounted price of 75 pounds for registered members of the Teen Yoga Foundation (for more information, enter the Members Area).

Please book here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Membership changes – Teen Yoga Foundation

From 1st January 2017 we have changed the way membership of the Teen Yoga Foundation works.

​When we originally set up the Foundation, a few months before the first Instill conference, it seemed logical to raise funds through membership to get the work off the ground. So we offered this, with various incentives such as discounts for the conference and CPD courses, and many signed up for that first year’s membership.

Since then, we have got our charity status, which was early in 2016, and after some debate, we have decided that fee-paying membership does not sit so well as a model for fundraising, as collecting fees pushes us towards a transactional relationship where the fee is seen as a payment for the provision of services, rather than simply support for our charitable activity. It feels more appropriate to work with donations and grants, and especially the valuable work that our volunteers contribute.

So, as of 1st January 2017, we ​are not collecting fees for membership. We will rely on donations for the different campaigns we organise. We do however ask you to register, and update your data regularly. By doing so, you are showing solidarity with young people everywhere and supporting our work to promote the inclusion of yoga in education.  It also helps us to keep in touch with you, and it is valuable to be able to talk about the numbers of members we have when we are requesting funding.

We will continue to maintain our member’s area (thanks to the volunteers who are helping with the resource collection) where we provide a collection of research articles and other publications relating to yoga and young people’s well-being.

There are also other benefits of membership. These include a discount on our annual conference, and on other events and activities run by the Teen Yoga Foundation, including CPDs run by collaborating organisations.

So please register if you havent already, and if you want to help, by donating or working with us, please get in touch.

Happy New Year!


Photo by Cristina Cerda