The question always stops me in my tracks:
“Is it really okay for teens to be touching each other in yoga? Isn’t that against the rules?”
And what shocks me even more is the people who ask. It’s not just my cab driver in Asheville, NC who politely inquired about my line of work. Or my hair stylist killing time with a little chit chat. Even some yoga teachers who work with youth have serious reservations about getting teens sitting back to back for fear of being chastised by administration and parents.
Each time I get the question (and I get it lots lately since I’m working on a partner yoga for teens project), it’s a throw-my-hands-in-the-air, what-is-this-world-coming-to moment.
Really? Supporting each other in stretches and postures for health is questionable, but mauling each other on the field to win a game is not only fully accepted, but celebrated to the point of being a national treasure?
Teaching teens about appropriate touch helps them relate with each other compassionately. In partner yoga, teens learn to communicate in peaceful ways. They learn to listen. They learn to share their truth. Most importantly, they learn to support and be supported.
Who wouldn’t want that for teens?
In 15 years or so of teaching, I’ve not had a single teen behave out of bounds in partner yoga. Yes, this takes skill and sensitivity. Trust must be built first. I strongly believe partner yoga should always be optional, with solo variations offered.
The truth is, I’ve found teens to be much more willing to enter into yogic practices with a friend or peer at their side to support and relate to.
Any other teachers out there with different or similar experiences teaching partner yoga to teens? I’d love to hear from you~