Whenever I see a child doing yoga, I always think, “Man, I can only imagine how different my life would be if I’d started doing yoga that young.” If there’s any other yoga-doing adult near me, they always agree with me. It would have been particularly helpful in the angst-ridden middle and high school years.
Better late than never.
But when I heard that Evolution Power Yoga had run a 40 Days Program for teenagers, we had to ask its owner, Julie Mathers, to share what showed up. These are her words:
One Saturday afternoon in early spring, fifteen teens–full of giggles and nervous smiles–gathered in the studio for a photo shoot. They knew they were a part of a groundbreaking program, but no one there really understood how big it would be. Least of all the leaders, who included myself, the studio owner, licensed therapists, certified dieticians, and yoga teachers. We’d all participated and lead 40 Days To Personal Revolution Programs before, but not like this.
The inaugural Teens 40 Days Program ran simultaneously to our adult 40 Days counterpart. The younger participants followed the same standard format: they met weekly for six weeks, starting each session with an asana practice geared to that week’s theme and Laws of Transformation. They launched onto this transformative path with others their age, who face the same hardships of adolescence.
These teens–who deal with greater distractions from more technology at their fingertips–were able to shut off the outside world and tune in and be with each other. As facilitators, we were able to help broaden the inner worlds of a small constituency of a younger generation, who seem to have greater social and academic pressures on them these days.
They realized that fear was a real emotion connected to changing their habit energies. They saw they were able take actions to change their experiences, even when fear was present.
They felt connected to others. As facilitator, I opened my eyes to the minds of teenage girls, and I was surprised by their thoughtfulness and self-awareness. I was able to give up preconceived notions about the mental abilities of people their age. Most of all, I found joy and excitement in sharing my experience with them.
The 40 Day Program transcends age. Not only did our teens access breakthroughs like those in our adult program, so did the program’s leaders. Not only did I further cultivate my passion for working with teens, but also for teaching yoga. The opportunity to co-lead the yoga portion of Teen 40 Day Program was my first foray into the blending these passions, and the impact was feeling a greater fulfillment in what I do. I loved the opportunity to offer young girls their first yoga experiences. To witness their trials and triumphs along the way reminded me that even across age brackets, we’re not that unalike. Not only did the 40 Days Program’s participants receive a contribution to their growth and development, but so did their leaders.