We had an interesting panel discussion on mindfulness and yoga, and the relationship between them, at the Instill conference earlier this month. We will be publishing a report on the conference, and the audio will soon be available, but meanwhile here is a blog post by Flavia Munn, who was at the conference, discussing mindfulness and yoga.
Conference registration begins at 8.30 am each day.
We will be providing refreshments (tea and fruit) during the breaks. For lunch on the Friday, there is a canteen available in the building across the way from the Brunei Gallery and there are several sandwich bars and other eating places in the vicinity. Here is a list of suggested places to eat.
During the lunch breaks on both days, there will be yoga sessions, so if you want to participate, please bring a yoga mat and suitable clothing!
There are two breakout sessions each day, where discussion will take place in smaller moderated groups. Details of the groups for each session, and the rooms they are in, will be posted on a noticeboard outside the lecture theatre.
We look forward to seeing you at Instill!
Sir Anthony Seldon, who is a patron of the Teen Yoga Foundation, can’t make it to the Instill conference this year, but he recorded some personal thoughts about yoga in schools. These can be found in this video.
See you at the conference!!
As some may know already, there is an Early Day Motion (EDM) on including yoga in the NHS which has been drafted through the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Sciences. An EDM is a formal motion for a topic to be debated in the House of Commons and brings attention to the cause. There is a meeting in the House of Lords on the 27th June to celebrate International Yoga Day and address the topic of bringing yoga into the NHS. The text also mentions bringing yoga in to the PE curriculum in schools.
This is a really important step, and it is wonderful that the idea can be discussed, but we need to give it as much support as we can, and one way to do this is to get as many MPs to back the EDM as possible.
The Teen Yoga Foundation are honoured to be sponsors of the International Yoga Day this year. It will be celebrated on 19th June (this coming Sunday) at Alexandra Palace. This is a free event.
We will be giving TeenYoga classes at the following times:
- 11.45 – 12.15 in Yoga class 2
- 2.45 – 3.15 in the Vitacoco open area
Come and find us at our tent! We will be presenting the Foundation’s work and projects, and of course the Instill conference in July.. On this occasion, for one day, we will be offering 2-day tickets at the Early Bird price (which ended in May) and the discount on membership.
We will also be inviting people to join in with our sponsored Yoga for Peace to raise money to fund the Foundation, which will take place on the International Day of Peace, on 21st September. Ther are various options you can do with your class, such 108 sun salutations, group vriksasana, or sponsored partner yoga. Or you could just do an hour of savasana, but it might be harder to get sponsored for that!! Come and talk to us about it!
We hope you can join us on the 19th June at Alexandra Palace, and join in with the Yoga for Peace.
Since our charitable status was approved, as well as working on the preparation of the Instill conference, we have been working on the advantages of membership of the Teen Yoga Foundation. Although the principal reason for becoming a member is to support the work we do, which helps to support everyone in the yoga community by promoting yoga for young people’s well being, there are other advantages for members. As well as the discount on the conference, and access to the resources in our Members Area on the website, there are also discounts available on specialist yoga training courses for your CPD. These include courses on subjects such as yoga for the special child, yoga for mental health in children and adolescents, yoga for autism and ADHD, yoga for the mind, and others.
This year we are very happy to be working with three organisations:
- Special Yoga (specialyoga.org.uk – courses run by Jo Manuel)
- Lucy Clarke (specialyogaworks.org – courses run by Lucy Clarke)
- The Minded Institute (http://www.yogaforthemind.info – courses run by Heather Mason)
Heather, Lucy and Jo are offering a 10% discount on their courses to Teen Yoga Foundation members. The courses, as many of our members have already discovered, are very valuable elements in any yoga teacher’s CPD. Lucy spoke last year at the Instill conference, and Heather and Jo are speakers this year.
We hope you will find these discounts helpful, in addition to the other advantages of being a member.
Sometimes it may seem as if all we talk about is the Instill conference!!! The Teen Yoga Foundation has a lot of other activity that aims to promote wellbeing for young people. One of these is a project called Yoga Girls Can.
Yoga for teenagers in schools is proving to be a slow burning success. Both informal feedback and formal research are building up a body of evidence that shows yoga improves the wellbeing of young people in schools. But what of the large numbers of young people who are not in school?According to Sportivate, which exists to promote physical activity among young people, there are some 4 million people across the UK in the age range between 16 and 24, for whom conventional sport is of no interest. It is also often associated with unpleasant or uncomfortable experiences at school age. The nonsporting, non-competitive nature of yoga makes it a very appropriate activity for promoting the wellbeing of this group. However, though it is easy to set up yoga classes in schools, those in jobs or a university or unemployed prove harder to reach.
The solution we came up with was a yurt, a mobile temporary space that we could take to each particular venue where we were likely to find young people interested in trying out yoga. We proposed the idea to Sport for England’s Innovation Fund and they accepted the proposal At the start of the project in September 2015, a wonderful opportunity arose to link the Youth Yoga Yurt project to Sport for England’s This Girl Can campaign which was aimed to get young women into sport. So the project was named Yoga Girls Can.
For the first year, it was decided to take the yurt mainly to university campuses. These included the University of the West of England, Bath University and Bath Spa University. There were some initial teething problems. We found especially that engaging people to such a degree as to get them to try a yoga session in a public space involves more than simply giving them information. There was a need for a one-to-one conversation in many cases. After the first weeks, uptake improved considerably as we adapted to this. The project has now reached its target. We have reached more than 600 young women, and we are now looking at ways of extending it this year. If you are interested in having the yurt at your institution, we may be able to help. Please get in touch!
Last week, Charlotta and Nick were at the Yoga in Schools Symposium at Kripalu in Massachusetts, US. We had a fascinating time hearing about a range of research projects and experiences of yoga in schools in the US. We will be posting reports about the conversations and video interviews with some of the key participants over the next weeks. Stay posted!
Last week, we conducted an experiment.
We took 6 children between 8 and 15 to Spain to join a group of school teachers.
The idea was to introduce the children to a week of yoga and meditation together with a group of yogis taking the TeenYoga training course, as well as lots of joy and sun!
There were opportunities to ask the kids what they felt about school, friendships, bullying and yoga among other things.
Here is what they said: yoga makes me feel: still, happy, strong, stable, balanced, free, good, trust, stretched, secure and relaxed. (they made a film about it!)
They even demonstrated with a beautiful yoga sequence they made up themselves. When asked about what do they do when they feel sad, it was a tricky moment, as one of the boys became very emotional as he said he really did not know what to do – it appeared that one of his closest friends had been so severely bullied that he had stopped going to school. It was a very emotional and disempowering event for his friend and for him to watch this happening. Yet the group held the space for the young man to quietly cry. It was very moving.
Teaching yoga is not only about postures, it is also teaching a way of life, based on kindness, collaboration and openness, or as the famous family psychiatrist Dr Siegel says in his lecture to TeenYoga: COAL- curiosity, openness, acceptance and love.
AS school teachers, we are leaders, we are constantly modelling a way of life, yet many teachers are burnt out and are assessed and criticised, they are not able to remain calm, stable and kind under the pressure of harsh expectations.
The reasons why so many kids have mental and physical health issues remains unclear, but the fact is that 1 in 4 or 5 teens are suffering from some kind of disorder related to depression or anxiety. All research points to the fact that mental disorders in adulthood have their inception at this time. Therefore it appears to me to be of utmost importance to find ways to help young people cope with difficult emotions – “emotional resilience” as well as understand what it is that could cause trauma and disorders and how to avoid these events. In other words, we are looking at teaching kids “happiness classes”.
Dr Seldon got there first, he introduced Happiness Classes at Wellington College several years ago and last year was knighted by the Queen for his services to education. His school is one of the top schools in the UK, having jumped 192 places since his employment as head. Sir Seldon took his yoga Teacher training course back in the eighties and devised systems based on his learning there to implement in his school, to great advantage.
There are some strong national movements initiating yoga as a whole school approach to mitigate the pressures and stresses of the teachers and students. Leeds University Psychology Department work together with TeenYoga, to research the impact of yoga on various aspects such as chronic pain, stress, illness and anxiety. The results are astounding. Children seem to be much more available to the healing power of yoga than adults are and sometimes feel a profound sense of wellbeing after just one session.
In one of yoga’s main texts; Patanjali’s Sutras, there is really one sentence that sums up the intention and existence of yoga, “the pain of the future is to be avoided” (heyyam duhkham anagatam). The whole point of yoga is to alleviate future pain through extended practises of meditation in its various forms, a practise the Jung also found useful and profoundly transformative for himself.
As school teachers, when we are faced with the pain of our students which is then exacerbated by our own pain, we are driven to alleviate it and find solutions that are simple and easy to put into practise.
With this in mind, the new conference, INSTILL, in London in July, is bringing together international speakers and officials from the NHS and government as well as the world of yoga to look at yoga as a viable option to bring more awareness of wellbeing practises into schools. It is the first conference of its kind and will be held at SOAS in London.
13th July 2015
9 – 5pm
School of Oriental and African Studies, London
In recent years, developments in neuroscience and psychology have indicated a strong correlation between the practice of yoga and mindfulness and improvements in individual well-being.