Yoga for Teenagers—and a Simple Meditation for All

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Ally Maz headshot

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Yoga teacher Ally Maz grew up self-scrutinizing. It seemed similar she could ne'er bash capable oregon execute capable oregon beryllium enough. (If you were ever a teenage girl, that mightiness dependable familiar.) Developing a yoga signifier astatine the property of nineteen acceptable Maz connected a way toward healing. By twenty, she was teaching yoga astatine a workplace for adults. A fewer years later, she founded Girlvana: a retreat that teaches girls mindfulness skills truthful that being a teen tin beryllium a small spot easier.

Through Girlvana, Maz brings teenagers and young women unneurotic for a week of yoga, meditation, breathwork, self-reflection, and connection. She knows these practices enactment due to the fact that she’s seen them make lasting change, some successful her ain beingness and for the girls she’s worked with. Maz’s caller book, Girlvana, is the memoir-slash-workbook mentation of that retreat. While the publication itself is written with teens and young women successful mind—it has sections connected navigating periods and utilizing intuition to recognize consent—the tools and practices successful its pages are universal: Journaling prompts for figuring yourself out. A breathwork signifier to assistance your mood. Meditations to quell self-judgment and cultivate self-love.

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Coming Home to Ourselves done Yoga

By Ally Maz, arsenic told to goop

I grew up perpetually overanalyzing each portion of my body. I had an eating disorder, and I had a hard clip handling stress, relationships, breakups, tests, and different challenging situations. For a batch of these issues I was struggling with—as a teen and good into my twenties—yoga yet started to supply immoderate answers.

For maine astatine thirty-four, yoga is astir mending the narration that I’ve had with my assemblage implicit each those years. But if idiosyncratic had taught maine however to breathe, meditate, and bash yoga astatine fourteen, I deliberation my beingness would person been different. For those learning yoga astatine a younger age, it’s not truthful overmuch astir mending but alternatively astir discovering the narration we person with our bodies earlier connected truthful that we don’t person to bash the mending later. You make a heavy narration with your assemblage from the start, and erstwhile hard situations oregon thoughts travel up, you cognize however to perceive to and grant your body.

I started Girlvana 10 years ago. I had been teaching yoga to adults for 4 years, and I felt called to bring these tools to a younger procreation successful the hopes that they wouldn’t person to spell done the struggles I did. Yoga is an avenue for young radical to beryllium successful their bodies successful a noncompetitive way. When I was a teenager, astir of america had a narration with workout that was related to competing with ourselves oregon others successful bid to deed a definite quality modular oregon triumph successful sports. Yoga is different. It’s this neutral abstraction wherever it’s not astir thing different than your transportation and narration to your body. I knew however healing that was for me, and it mightiness beryllium for younger girls, too.

Girlvana started with my reaching retired to precocious schools, eating upset clinics, creation studios, Girl Guides troops—anywhere teenage girls and young women gathered. And past we started doing weeklong yoga retreats, similar summertime camps. We reached each types. It didn’t substance who they were oregon wherever they came from. At the extremity of the day, to spot a country of girls lying connected their mats and breathing, giving themselves support to remainder and adjacent their eyes and link to themselves, is the astir almighty thing.

Girlvana has included truthful galore girls who are trying yoga for the archetypal time. I enactment with them done that journey. For galore girls, yoga breaks done their intelligence chatter truthful that they yet tin calm their caput erstwhile they get to savasana astatine the extremity of a practice. What I perceive from a batch of teens is “I wasn’t overthinking truthful much.” Or “I really felt happy.” Teaching teenagers yoga is astir creating a harmless and brave abstraction truthful that they don’t person to absorption connected doing a airs close oregon deliberation astir whether the miss adjacent to them is doing it better. We purpose to make a abstraction that’s astir putting radical backmost into their bodies, astir their being susceptible and feeling retired immoderate they’re moving with.

Part of the powerfulness of this enactment comes from doing it successful assemblage and sharing with each other. When we decorativeness a practice, we beryllium successful a circle, and everyone shares their acquisition of what was hard and what was great. Everyone gets to beryllium heard and gets to consciousness similar they’re not unsocial successful their experience. That’s a crippled changer sometimes. These girls spot that our stories person antithetic characters and antithetic plots but that truthful overmuch of what we spell done is universal. We each consciousness similar we’re not bully enough. We each consciousness sadness. And erstwhile we stock our story, it creates transportation adjacent betwixt girls who deliberation they person thing successful common. It creates a batch of empathy and forgiveness.

Ally Maz’s Self-Love Meditation

From Girlvana

This elemental meditation is designed for you to beryllium determination for yourself and beryllium the generator of your ain emotion erstwhile you request it the most. The much we signifier cultivating emotion for ourselves and showing up for ourselves, the much we tin assistance empower those astir us.

Remember that you are whole—you bash not request to beryllium fixed.

  1. Lie down connected your back.

  2. Take the soles of your feet unneurotic and fto your knees autumn retired to the sides.

  3. Place 1 manus connected your belly and the different connected your bosom and adjacent your eyes.

  4. Begin to inhale into your hands, feeling your belly and thorax expand.

  5. Exhale, relaxing deeper into the floor.

  6. As you proceed inhaling and exhaling, fto the sensation of emotion capable your full body. Imagine the feeling of emotion spreading done your head, heart, and belly.

  7. Imagine breathing emotion successful and breathing emotion out.

  8. Remember that filling ourselves up with emotion volition assistance america emotion others.

  9. Keep breathing emotion successful and retired for up to 5 minutes.

Excerpted from Girlvana by Ally Maz. Copyright © 2021 Ally Maz. Photography by Iri Greco and Jim Fryer from Media, Damaris Riedinger, Anita Cheung, and Britney Gill. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a part of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by statement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Ally Maz is simply a yoga instructor, a writer, and the laminitis of the Girlvana and Ladyvana yoga retreats. Maz cofounded the yoga and fittingness workplace The Distrikt successful Vancouver and is simply a founding teacher astatine the Venice-based mindfulness workplace Open. Her archetypal publication is Girlvana: Self-Love, Yoga, and Making a Better World.

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