10 ways to help your teen relax

Expectation overload, online quantitative identity, our teens need to relax deeper and more than ever before. Some of them are constantly anxious or stressed and depending on the level of stress, you may need to start with some movement to release tension, before you can move into stillness effectively.

I believe, as the Dalai Lama says, we are all basically gentle by nature, and many times expectations and society push us into a brutalised form of ourselves. Yoga and related disciplines brings us back to the gentle, kind relationship with ourselves and each other, which is what makes it such a powerful practise.

PREPARATION:

  • For all the suggestions below, make sure they are completely undisturbed.
  • Make the room you and your teen are going to be in a sacred space, honour yourself and them by keeping a corner clean and uncluttered (maybe time for a clear out first),
  • Get some flowers from the park and put in a vase,
  • Maybe light some incense or a small candle safely,
  • Have a beautiful photo or picture of nature and make your space special
  • Change your sheets
  • Vacuum your room
  • Open the window if it is quiet outside

Some of these practises are harder than others, some more suited to more active people other to more still people, they will pick what is best for them.

You might be surprised how open they are to your suggestions:

  1. TIME OUT – Shut off all devices for half an hour, lie down with blinds down, some gentle music, eyes closed on the bed, you can suggest Ravi Shankar or Wah!, let the mind wander.

Time: Min. 10 minutes.

  1. MOVING INTO STILLNESS – Do a short vinyasa flow or even just Sun salutation followed by a savasana. Make sure the savasana is as long as the yoga postures. When you are in savasana, mentally scan your body for sensations and feelings, moving systematically from the feet to the head.

Time: Min. 15 minutes.

  1. OUT OF MY MIND – Yoga Nidra from the Yoganidranetwork.orgonline (there are several different lengths, a wonderful resource) is a beautiful way for you both to relax deeply and fully. A true relaxation.

Time:Between 10 mins and 45 mins.

  1. TAKING CARE – Self massage (Abyangha) with warm oils such as sesame oil or olive oil or massaging with a friend. (If with a friend you can stick to back, legs, arms and hands and feet, if by yourself, you include the whole body). Or would they let you massage them?

Time: 10-30 minutes

  1. HAVING FUN  – A few of your favourite postures, from one of the online resources, such as TeenYoga  You Tube channel, Charlottayogi or Yoga Glo or you tube generally, followed by a thorough body scan and savasana.

Time: 10-20 minutes

  1. WITNESSING –  Watch your thoughts, be the witness with utter compassion, noticing anger if it is there (or any other so called positive or negative emotion), maybe see if it belongs anywhere in the body, whether it has a shape, a colour, a pulsation, notice it, breathe into it and have respect and love for it as it were your own child. Notice the space between emotions and thoughts. Notice your breathing as you do this.

Time: 5-20 minutes

7. SING YOUR HEART OUT – Chanting OM with something off you tube, or on your own, or other chants. (Lengthens the outbreath and is a wonderful way to express emotions) Try to chant along with Krishna Das or MC Yogi.

Time: any amount of time

8. CHANGING YOUR MIND

Metta:

  1. Think of someone you love (not a boyfriend or girlfriend)and send them kindness, imagine smiling at them in the place your normally see them, maybe even giving them a hug.
  2. Now move onto someone you like and do the same thing
  3.  Next, someone who you don’t feel specially anything for and do the same thing,
  4. Then move onto a relative and repeat and
  5. Then someone you don’t know very well at all and repeat
  6. Then imagine someone you don’t like very much and imagine smiling warmly at them, sincerely
  7. Finally, imagine meeting yourself and doing this too

Notice if any of these were tricky and be kind to yourself.

Time: 10 minutes

  1. SLOWING DOWN – Dirga Breath: Breathe in deeply in three parts, 1st part to the navel, second part to the chest and third part to the clavicles and then breathe out super slowly making a sound like the ocean (Ujjayi breath)

Time: 10 minutes

  1. CHILLING OUT – Breathe in for 6 seconds and out for 6 seconds for 20 minutes, (make a timer on the phone, like a gentle mindfulness bell sound). Notice the stillness that descends on you.

Time: 20 minutes

If you want your teen to do something, do it yourself (called modelling), leave this list out, and let them get on with it, helping them with any props they might need. If they find a different way, respect that too!

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