Parents, listen up.

Next time your teen starts, well, acting like a teenager, don’t send them to their room. Send them to the mat!

There’s now scientific research to prove yoga can even help teens.
 
This new finding from Harvard, published in the Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, should come as no suprise to anyone who has ever experienced even an inkling of the benefits of yoga.
 
We do yoga to calm the fluctuations of the mind. By doing this moving meditation, by breathing, by opening our bodies, and by opening our hearts, we focus on the present moment and learn to find strength in difficult times and be okay with where we are at that moment.
 
Let’s face it, being a teen these days can be hard.
 
There’s the instant gratifaction teens seek thanks to social media and devices that keep them connected at all times. They’re bombarded at every turn with images and messages to be a certain way in order to be ‘good enough’.
 
And, these days, they’re not even allowed to be kids. It used to be that the teen years were about enjoying life, having fun, hanging out with friends and finding yourself. But, these days, teens are expected to do more and be more before they even know who they are.
 
It’s enough to make even adults stress out.
 
That’s where yoga comes in.
 
In the Harvard study, 51 11th and 12th grade students in Massachusett went through a Kripalu-based yoga program doing physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation exercises two to three times a week for 10 weeks, while another group just did regular PE.
 
All of the teens went through psycosocial testing before the study so researchers had a baseline of what they were up against. After 10 weeks, they completed the same tests.
 
In the end, the students who went through the yoga traning said they were less moody, less stressed and less angry than before they started practicing. Turns out, the ones who went through regular PE classes actually showed worsening mood and anxiety.
 
As an added benefit, around75 percent of the teens who took the yoga classes said they liked the practice so much that they planned to continue doing it.
 
Researchers say they’d like to see larger studies conducted to substantiate these findings, but they are optimistic about the potential.
 
In Manatee County, a new school could actually put this theory to the test. The girls-only charter school, called Just for Girls Academy, is planned to open its doors for the 2012-2013 school year and part of the curriculum wil involve teaching the young girls yoga to help them deal with stress. The school will start with grades K-3 and will eventually go up to 8th grade. 
 
And, there’s one thing we do know, it certainly can’t hurt.
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