TEEN YOGA MONTHLY THEME – AUGUST 2021
Joy and Relaxation:
Who or what Is joy?
‘Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
With schools breaking for summer (at least in the northern hemisphere!), we thought ‘joy and relaxation’ would be a good theme. The joy of summer hols and also taking the time to relax.
A joyful life is the best existence we can hope to achieve. It’s the kind of life that produces positive vibes and feel-good energy, encourages us to look to the future with high hopes. Pure joy may seem like a fleeting emotion, but even if you only feel it for a moment in time, you can hold onto it. You can relish it.
The teenage years can be a maze of emotions, hormones and anxiety. Experiencing joy is something that many teenagers may not have realised as it isn’t always about finding joy in great big events in our lives but in the smaller things we do.
Within the yoga class, we can bring the groups to focus on this emotion and reflect on their experiences with self-enquiry and the use of mood cards.
In Disney’s movie, ‘Inside Out’ (2015), the goal of the character Joy has always been to make sure Riley (the main character) stays happy. She is light-hearted, cheerful, optimistic and determined to find fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley’s life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. As long as Riley is happy, so is Joy.
During the film, the lessons learned are that we do need to experience other emotions, such as sadness, anger, disgust and fear, to develop our personal learning and development and also, to appreciate the joyful times.
There are so many ways to experience joy and one of them can certainly be through relaxation. It’s been a challenging year for everyone so as we move into August and have this time away from school, use your yoga classes to bring a little joy and relaxation into your yogis lives. This August, we have ways in which you can bring both into your classes.
LINKS AND RESOURCES FOR AUGUST
Joy and Relaxation through Yoga
Yoga Nidra can be a great way to bring a sense of relaxation into your class and it can be very beneficial, especially for teens. It really helps them with mood swings, brain and physical growth, self-esteem, brain function, muscular relaxation and sleep.
You might also consider bringing affirmations into your Yoga Nidra practice, which might also bring a sense of joy and peace into the practice. Some affirmations might include, ‘I am joy,’ or ‘I am peace.’ It’s best that these only be used if you’ve been doing Yoga Nidra with your yogis for over a few weeks, as it is very powerful.
Most of you will be familiar with the Yoga Nidra practice, Garden of Blossom, from the Teen Yoga teacher training. We wanted to share it with you again to use in your class. You can simply follow the script as you take your yogis through a Yoga Nidra practice.
Here is the script 01 08_01 Yoga for Joy and Relaxation YOGA NIDRA
Poem: The Fountain Is So Happy
This is a lovely poem written by Annette Wynne. It’s a good reminder that it’s the little things that can make us happy, like the sunshine and the air. Also, a good reminder that our joy begins within our heart.
You can download the poem 01 08_02 Yoga for Joy and Relaxation POEM and read it to your class.
Joy: Journalling and Affirmations
Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness; the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Joy is associated with feelings of ease, appreciation and meaning.
As we practice yoga, tapping into ‘ joy’ during the practice increases serotonin (chemical in our body contributing to well-being and happiness) and decreases cortisol (the primary stress hormone in the body).
It’s not all joy and happiness in our practice and our lives – we push ourselves too hard, negative emotions can come up and we might even feel stressed.
One way to shift our thoughts is through journaling and affirmations. You might find it helpful to start a class with questions about joy and sharing some affirmations.
Here are some ideas! 01 08_03 Yoga for Joy and Relaxation JOURNALING AND AFFIRMATIONS
Create a Bliss Board
A bliss board is a visual representation of your goals, dreams and aspirations. Otherwise known as a dream, mood or inspiration board. The term ‘bliss board’ is often preferred as it conjures up images of being utterly and blissfully happy. 😊
You could suggest to your yogis that they create their own bliss board or you could even plan a class where you create them during the class.
Here are more details about making a bliss board. 01 08_04 Yoga for Joy and Relaxation BLISS BOARD
THE AUGUST CHALLENGE
The Teen Yoga Foundation is a charity. To achieve our aim of ensuring all young people have access to the benefits of yoga we depend on two sources of income, one is the courses we run, and the other, donations.
The other key thing that sustains us is the work of our volunteers without which we could not function. These monthly themes for example are created entirely by volunteers, who hope that their work can help to raise funds for the Foundation
Most months we suggest a fundraising idea, so that teachers can raise donations to help us.
August tends to be a quiet month so maybe this month, you could consider simply asking your students to make a donation after one of the classes you give (or all of them) You could talk a little about the work we do, bringing the benefits they are enjoying to disadvantaged young people.
All funds donated go to Teen Yoga Foundation, which means we can offer more classes to those who need it most and teacher training scholarships.
You can donate here!