At Paradigm Treatment Centers, one of our alternative therapy offerings is our Teen Integrative Yoga Therapy program. Yoga is an ancient practice, revered for its ability to promote connection between body, mind, and spirit, in order to support overall ease and wellness. As such, Teen Integrative Yoga Therapy is very much in line with our greater Paradigm Treatment Center philosophy, which is to design treatment plans that support the health and well-being of teens on all levels.
Teen Integrative Yoga Therapy has proven to be profoundly powerful as well as enjoyable among teens here at Paradigm Treatment Centers. Yoga is an innately integrative practice, which facilitates connection between the body and mind. The coordination of breath to movement deepens this connection, as well as providing positive, calming effects to the nervous system. Our Teen Integrative Yoga Therapy program draws upon these natural benefits of yoga and implements it as a treatment tool, in order to promote healing in teens, during treatment. While each Teen Yoga Therapy session is different, our teachers include a number of different aspects of the yoga practice, including but not limited to: the asana postures, pranayama, mantra, meditation, and Yoga Nidra.
Asana refers to the physical postures commonly associated with yoga classes. The asana postures serve as a wonderful, balanced form of exercise, which promote muscle tone and flexibility, as well as healthy circulation. Moreover, these postures are usually coordinated with breath and are designed to support optimal alignment of the body, as well as nourishment of the nervous system. This effect on the nervous system promotes clear thinking, a sense of calm and slowness, and overall sense of well-being. Many teens struggling with Teen Anxiety express that asana practice helps to slow their thoughts and improve their ability to resist anxiety spirals.
Pranayama is the practice of deep, intentional breathing, usually with controlled inhale and exhale. Pranayama is practiced both with asana as well as independently and promotes calming of the nervous system, and is especially poignant in restoring the fight or fight state to equilibrium.
Mantra is a form of meditation and mindfulness, characterized by a repeated word or phrase that reiterates a positive message to oneself. Mantra is unique to the individual and might surround a specific goal or intention a teen has, and serve to help focus the teen’s mind and belief systems to align with this intention. Especially in instances where teens are struggling with maintaining a strong sense of self, mantra can be a powerful therapeutic tool to help gently remind teens of their intention and to refocus their thoughts, when they might stray toward unkindness, self-judgment, or shame.
In the therapeutic context, we teach forms of meditation as a way to help teens focus their thoughts and slow down their minds, create mindfulness of their own thoughts and feelings, and to learn to be present in their lives. There are a number of different therapeutic techniques we incorporate to teach these skills and find that they are incredibly useful both in helping teens to engage in their therapeutic process, as well as to gain relief from symptoms, insight into themselves, and strength to better navigate challenges.
Yoga Nidra is a meditative-like state in which teens concentrate on the gentle relaxation of their bodies, in order to nurture deep relaxation in their bodies and minds. Yoga Nidra helps teens let go of thoughts and relax, and is often very valuable for teens that might struggle with things such as anxiety and/or insomnia.
All these different aspects of our Teen Integrative Yoga Therapy program are used both independently and together, according to the individualized treatment plan. We find that many teens here find great enjoyment in the program and experience palpable benefits from the practice, which leads to them continuing with an individual yoga practice, following their time here at Paradigm Treatment Centers.