This Month

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­­­TEEN YOGA MONTHLY THEME – JANUARY 2023

FRIENDSHIP

We start the year with friends, and this month the them is friendship.

The dictionary definition of friendship is a state of mutual trust and support –   this can be enhanced in our yoga practice in all manner of ways:

  • Yoga allows us to live our lives in a peaceful way and react to others in a spirit of friendship.
  • Yoga can also improve current friendships by relaxing the body – for the more relaxed we are, the better we relate to others.
  • Learning to be present through our yoga practice will also help with friendship.   After all one of the most valuable assets of a friend is someone who is present, who listens.
  • Partner poses are of course wonderful for building friendships – Partner yoga poses add resistance and are helpful in allowing holds to be longer and deeper. As with any experience with friends, partner yoga is a way to develop trust and experience familiar things in an unfamiliar way.  Partner yoga relies on good communication and the teens will learn to give and pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues.

There are many trials and tribulations with friendships in teenage years as young people start to break away from the family unit in search of deep and long lasting relationships with others. Social media can sometimes be more a hindrance than a help.   Uniting teens through yoga is a lovely way of creating bonds and friendship could be a discussion point in one of the yoga classes.    Listed below are 15 ways in which to be a good friend, perhaps you could ask your students to read one out each or to think of some of their own and then have these as a discussion point at the end.

 

 

15 Ways to build strong friendships (courtesy of tinybuddha.com)

 

Be you. The greatest gift you can give to others is you—the real you. So, pull off your mask and be authentic.

Be friendly.  you have to be a friend to have a friend.

Be encouraging. The kind words you have for others are a balm for their soul. Spread them liberally.

Be interesting. Cultivate yourself so you have something to share with others. Read. Travel. Learn.

Be loyal. Through thick and thin, be loyal to your friend. From their best moments to their worst, stick by your friend’s side.

Be enriching. A true friend adds value to others by having a lifestyle of value.

Be understanding. Seek first to understand your friend. Then you can help them understand you.

Be direct. If misunderstandings arise, tackle them head-on with gentle honesty. A disagreement left to fester can damage a friendship

Be accepting. Just because someone is different from you doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground on which to build a firm friendship. Go outside your “zone” to find friends.

Be flexible. People’s lives ebb and flow. So do friendships. Let it be okay to have changing degrees of closeness with your friends.

Be available. Our busy lives make time a very precious commodity. Schedule regular time with friends and stay in contact via email, text, or phone calls.

Be a listener. Truly listen to your friend.

Be honest. When a friend’s actions or decisions scare you, share your heart in a non-judgmental way. If not you, then who?

Be appreciative. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. You may think they already know this, but a verbal affirmation every so often makes sure they do.

Be considerate. Give your friends space and be accepting of their time with family and other friends.

Be supportive. Cheer friends on when they “win,” cry with them when they “lose,” and laugh with them when either of you do something stupid.

 

 

Contributors for January 2023: Nikki Clift and Fiona Bates

We would also like to express our gratitude to all who help with these monthly themes, but especially Jen Khouri, who coordinated them throughout 2022 and at the same time welcome Nikki Clift and Fiona Bates who will now be coordinating the themes. Thankyou so much, Jen!  Welcome Fiona and Nikki!!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE A CONTRIBUTOR TO THESE THEMES, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH NICK AT TEENYOGAFOUNDATION.COM

TEEN YOGA AT PARLIAMENT October 2022

It took a long time, we had organised it several times but Brexit and then COVID pushed it back. But finally on 19th October we had our drop-in event at Parliament, where we had the chance to explain the benefits of yoga in schools, healthcare and youth provision to MPs.
The event was a valuable way to continue the conversation with MPs about our work and the benefits for young people. Though it was a complicated day in Parliament we had some very rich and fruitful conversations. We will be posting video of the event soon, but meanwhile here are two resources that may be useful the first is the presentation we used, the second is a document we gave out to MP
MPs about the benefits and cost-effectiveness of yoga, please feel free to share with your MP. We are also happy to meet with MPs who are interested.
If you do share with your MP we’d be grateful if you could drop us a line to Nick at teenyogafoundation.com, telling us which MP and constituency you have contacted.
Please let us know if you have any questions/suggestions.

LINKS AND RESOURCES FOR JANUARY

KS AND RESOURCES FOR JANUARY

Balloon Yoga

Balloons are brilliant yoga props, bringing fun and connection to a teen yoga class. ‘Punch Balloons’ are especially good as they have a holding loop opposite the tie end, meaning they can be passed between students easily.

The balloons can represent different things at different stages within a class, depending on the group and their mood. When working independently, the balloons might represent students’ mood, life experience, inner world, spirit, energy or dreams. In pair or group work, the balloons can be a lovely metaphor for the effect we have on one another through our interactions. It might also be nice to explore the care with which we would want someone to hold our balloon.

 

EXERCISES USING BALLOONS

Independent movement

Start the class with students raising and lowering their balloon in time with their breath. This could begin as a seated exercise and grow into a larger movement. Challenge the students to stand up and sit down holding the balloon, without using their hands to help. As they stand, ask them to lift their balloon high above them and rise up onto their tip toes, as they fill their own ‘balloon lungs’ with air. Students then slowly ‘deflate’ their lungs as they sit down. This is a lovely grounding exercise. There’s an opportunity to discuss the idea that ‘what goes up must come down’ and that we cannot sustain full stretch for long! We must deflate, rest and replenish before fully inhaling again.

Circle work

Set up the mats in a circle, with the foot corners of each mat touching the neighbouring mats. Each student should face towards the centre of the circle. Grip the balloon tie between two fingers and move between warrior 2 and reverse warrior. You might have fun playing with the idea of doing this in synchrony or in everyone’s own time, noticing that they might be drawn towards moving as a collective. You could also explore the idea of noticing how it feels to face each other in warrior and how the feeling changes as students disconnect in reverse warrior.

Form a circle with everyone facing the centre, large enough for everyone’s palms to touch their neighbours’ palms with their arms stretched wide. Come into Goddess pose, holding balloons at heart centre. Straighten legs and hold the balloon high above the head. Move back through goddess and transfer the balloon to the right fingers. Keeping goddess legs, forward fold with arms wide and pass the balloons to the right while receiving a new balloon from the left. You could discuss the idea that our interactions have effects on others, beyond those we directly interact with. If you have different coloured balloons students can see their ‘ripple effect’ moving around the group. You could play with this by speeding it up and perhaps discuss how careless interactions might affect us!

 

Floor work

You need an even number of students for this so you may or may not need to be part of the circle. To begin with, everyone has their own balloon. Students lie on their back with arms spread wide, feet towards the centre of the circle. Students raise and lower their balloon, with straight or bent legs. Encourage them to breathe in as they lift their balloon and breathe out as they lower. The aim is not to drop the balloon!

Next, ask alternate students to put their balloon aside. They are then going to try and pass the remaining balloons clockwise around the group without using hands to help!

For a challenge… see if students can move into plough or shoulder stand without dropping the balloon. And… see if they can bicycle their legs in shoulder stand!

 

Paired work

Students could work in twos to mirror each other, taking turns to be the movement leader. They could do this with two balloons or with both students’ hands on one balloon.

 

METTA MEDITATION

As described on the Metta Institute website, “The practice of Metta meditation is a beautiful support to other awareness practices. One recites specific words and phrases evoking a “boundless warm-hearted feeling.” The strength of this feeling is not limited to or by family, religion, or social class. We begin with our self and gradually extend the wish for well-being happiness to all beings.”

This practice begins with the words, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.” Students could do this in mountain pose, holding their balloon at heart centre. They could then move towards another student they haven’t spoken to much that day and extend their balloon to them saying “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” They could then exchange their balloons. This could be repeated a number of times. It again provides a lovely visual for how we affect others around us. You could finish with students coming back to the circle and saying “May we all be happy. May we all be well. May we all be safe. May we all be peaceful and at ease.”

 

POEM

Here is a very sweet poem about friendship.  You could read it at the end of the class in Savasana or at the start of the class to open up a discussion.

Friendship Poem

A person who will listen and not condemn
Someone on whom you can depend
They will not flee when bad times are here
Instead they will be there to lend an ear
They will think of ways to make you smile
So you can be happy for a while
When times are good and happy there after
They will be there to share the laughter
Do not forget your friends at all
For they pick you up when you fall
Do not expect to just take and hold
Give friendship back, it is pure gold.

Gillian Jones

JANUARY FUNDRAISING

I bought some meditation cushions yesterday.

I have a little button, a”widget”, in my web browser from an organisation called Give as you Live.

Before buying the cushions I clicked on the button, then carried on as normal.

Later I received a message saying, “you have raised £2.21 for the Teen Yoga Foundation”. It was that easy.

Over 2000 people see this page each month, if you all clicked it would quickly add up!

As Christmas comes you may be making online purchases, if you set up the Give as you Live button, then the places you buy from will make donations (the percentage varies) to us.

All you have to do is click on the button! We would really appreciate it, as every donation helps!

If you are interested

You first need to sign-up.  Go to ‘Give As You Live’ by clicking HERE and choose Teen Yoga Foundation as your chosen charity.  Then, you just need to enter a few details about yourself and you’re all set to start raising free funds!

Once you’ve signed-up, download the Donation Reminder “widget” to your browser.  When you visit a participating online store (there are thousands),you click on the widget and it asks if you want a percentage of your purchase to raise money for us.  You click ‘yes’ and shop as you normally would.

You won’t typically see anything different on the store’s website, but as long as you’ve clicked on the widget, they’ll know you’re a ‘Give As You Live’ online shopper.

And thats it!  They will email you to let you know how much has been raised.

Why not try it now? 

Register HERE.