January 6, 2013

Partner Yoga for Teens: A Review.

These are priceless life lessons on establishing mutual trust and building alliances.

I was already a fan of Shanti Generation.

Their first DVD, Yoga for Kids and Teens, inspired me to play it straight with teens in my yoga classes. Young people don’t need modern tunes or funky moves to draw them to the mat. Teens, like the rest of us, are seeking connection, community and a sense of peace.

When I heard Shanti Generation had produced a new DVD, I was excited and a little anxious. Co-founder and Program Director Abby Wills is ambitious when it comes to pushing the edges of conventional wisdom.

Such wisdom says that teens won’t do yoga because it’s too embarrassing—especially if they have to touch each other. However, the folks at Shanti Generation believe it’s not only possible, but vital.

So, I was curious to see how Partner Yoga for Teens played out. In fact, I was so curious I popped it straight from the mailbox into the DVD player.

I was glad to see the elements that made the first disc so user-friendly were still in place. Abby provides clear instructions in a voice designed for teaching yoga. The new DVD includes more amazing interviews with teens who explain why they value their practice and how yoga helps with the hard stuff that comes with growing up—bullying, stress, embracing diversity and developing compassion.

Partner Yoga for Teens is all about communication and relationships. I know from my work in the schools, and as a parent, that social skill development matters as much as, or even more than, academic success. Teachers and counselors can use this DVD to help teens get beyond the barriers that divide them.

The yoga sequences are divided into short “chapters” which can be played individually or strung together. All the basics of safety and comfort are covered with an emphasis on communication as the foundation of partner yoga. There’s just the right amount of guidance to ensure that students derive maximum benefit from the poses. Lovely background music by Aaron Wills is an optional feature.

These kids keep it real. You see them adjust to make the poses work better. They grin and give each other high fives at the end of one sequence. It’s intense, yet never intimidating or phony.

I remember every partner yoga class I’ve ever taken in vivid detail. Working with another person lifts yoga practice to another level. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect the disenfranchised.

This DVD would make a great gift for a teen or teacher. These are priceless life lessons on establishing mutual trust and building alliances.

Shanti Generation and their group of intrepid teens have created the resource. Now we need to spread the message and make sure this starts happening in our homes and schools.



Assistant Ed: Sara McKeown

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