Partner Yoga for Teens: Is it Inappropriate?

 

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~

COMMENTS (6)

Yes, Yes, Yes!! I have had the exact same experence here n Atlanta. Just lke you, I help them buld trust frst. Partner poses are a way for teens to connect and help each other. We also teach them how to adjust/enhance each others postures.
The next step s to partner wth someone who s not on ther ‘contact lst’. Ths has been the most successful way that I know for teens to connect wth others who are n dfferent networks. Then they start sayng “Namaste”to each other n the halls and sttng together at lunch.
Let’s contnue to stand together for what we know to be true. Teens need ths work now more than ever, and practcng wth peers n extremely potent.
Grateful for your work,
Cheryl

    Thanks for your comment, Cheryl. It s so good to be n communty across the mles and know that you are out there dong ths work everyday! YES! Practcng wth peers off ther “contact lst” s truly transformatve. I love comng up wth creatve ways of partnerng up teens. Partnerng teens whose brthdays are closest seems to work really well snce they already have a common ground. Grattude;)

I teach teens yoga weekly at school (14 – 15 yr olds) and I fnd they love the partner work. I do partner work every week, generally just 2 – 3 poses to keep them engaged and happy. Occasonally I skp t to work on a more trcky pose or for group work and very quckly someone says aren’t we dong partner work today. They love workng together, there s lots of gggles and sometmes they even create ther own versons when they are fnshed the pose. I fnd t s great for ther self esteem, they bond really well and let go of any tenson or ssues they may have walked nto the class wth.
Yes, t does get nosy but t s worth t too see the smles and hear the gggles. When they acheve a pose they thought they couldn’t do, they are truly elated!They are consderate of each others bodes and they never push or stretch each other to extremes. They would be dsapponted f I were to omt the partner work each week.

    Thanks so much for sharng, Martne. It’s true, the nose level does go up! I’m so happy to hear other teachers are utlzng ths powerful teachng technque. Thanks agan.

    Thanks so much for sharng, Martne. It’s true, the nose level does go up! I’m so happy to hear other teachers are utlzng ths powerful teachng technque. Thanks agan.

Great post and comments! We encourage a lot of partner work for the same reasons n our preteen and teen classes, but have to admt that, at that age, due to the developmental and socal awkwardness that come wth puberty, the sexes are separated most of the tme. Queston to everyone: Do your classes nclude both sexes. If so, do you partner them qute as much, and f so, n all the same ways? Thanks for sharng!

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