Adding yoga to support groups and therapy is a recent trend in holistic wellbeing services, but this isn’t just a passing fad. Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of yoga for treating depression and anxiety. Specifically, adding yoga to support groups for children and teens provides a wealth of benefits that supplement and support the personal growth of each member. Here are 8 reasons why adding yoga to support groups is effective.
1. Yoga can secure the mind-body connection and enhance therapy work.
Emotions come up during therapy; they are felt in the body even if the person is disconnected from where or how they are experiencing it. When children or teens practice mind-body awareness right after their group session, the emotions that arose in the group are often still present and doing yoga can help the person connect their mind and body. Helping children and teens learn how to gain and maintain a sense of balance between are thoughts/feelings and are physical body is so important especially at a young age. Learning the connection here – as in, when I feel angry I tense up and doing a forward fold helps me to relax. So simple, but an invaluable lesson.
2. Yoga can provide a space where children and teens can “go” within themselves.
With so many distractions in our world, it is easy for children and teens to escape through a computer, video game, or phone. Adding yoga to support groups, provides children and teens the opposite of escaping to avoid themselves but rather they learn to deal with their emotions in a healthy and appropriate way in the moment, through poses, breathing and savasana (relaxation).
3. Yoga groups create a safe space.
Children and teens may feel as though their group is a secret society or a special world where they go to learn about themselves in a safe, secure setting with others who experience similar feelings. Yoga can seem like a special place to learn ancient “tricks” such as poses, breathing, and mindfulness. By adding yoga to support groups, there is a special space where they feel a sense of belonging to something larger, rather than how they may feel – like a misfit in the outside world – it builds an even tighter bond between group members as they learn to support each other physically and mentally. They get to experience each other in a different way. The group cohesion that happens is amazing.
4. Yoga increases receptiveness to new ways of thinking and doing.
Adding yoga to support groups provides a readiness to receive new ways of thinking and doing. The participants are freshly cracked open after their therapy session and therefore ready for what makes the yoga experience so much more than stretching their bodies. Doing poses, breath-work and mindfulness expands their awareness. The movement piece of group also adds something that talk therapy just can’t. It moves us past our thoughts and feelings and opens us to the present moment. It forces us to be mindful and helps to practice these neural pathways to imbed the process
Children and teens in therapy or support groups often feel out of control and overwhelmed, as though their world has turned upside down and they don’t know how to navigate it. Adding yoga to support groups can help reduce anxiety about feeling overwhelmed by providing a sense of control and how to be strong in their minds and bodies which transfers to their real world outside the room.
6. Yoga groups give support.
A support group provides a safe place to share thoughts, feelings and experiences and to learn new skills for coping. Adding yoga to support groups can provide support, as well, because if children cry, lash out, or have other emotional responses in the yoga or group they are able to see that people will care for them regardless. There is a non-judgement stance of acceptance of where they are in the moment and others whom they already know from group who can support them. The group members also have the benefit of two professionals working together to support their needs. For example, if there is a session on body image and confidence done in the support group portion, the yoga teacher can back the therapist up, by working these lessons into her plan for yoga.
7. Yoga can reduce physical discomfort that can be a result of mental stress.
Dealing with mental health issues affect the body and there are many articles that discuss this. Adding yoga to support groups means that there is a reduction in physical discomfort as a part of the support group process. Children and teens don’t need to go elsewhere to gain that release – it’s a part of the holistic model of incorporating yoga and therapy.
8. Yoga can teach lifelong skills.
Support groups teach lifelong coping skills to children and teens and so does practicing yoga. Adding yoga to support groups teaches them additional techniques to cope with life’s stresses, physical, emotional and mental. These techniques (poses, mindfulness, deep breathing) aren’t just a single note but are multi-faceted and can be applied to things they learn with their support group and which can be applied throughout their life.
We hope you and your families will join us! Contact us with any questions by phone at 301-960-1198 or by filling out our contact form located here: https://www.lotuspointwellness.com/contact/