Yoga for Teens


Arjun with Laura Brown, a certified teen yoga instructor

It’s almost impossible not to see a headline about the benefits of yoga on a magazine cover in the supermarket. Yoga studios are popping up in communities around the country.

Is our interest in this ancient practice a passing trend? Or will yoga prove to be an exercise that offers a boost to kids’ health and well-being? As the child of a yoga-certified mother, I decided to investigate further.



According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.4 percent of kids practiced yoga in 2017. That’s almost three times greater than the amount in 2012.

The Yoga and Meditation Center in San Diego, California, has seen this interest first-hand. “I enjoy teaching teenagers because I feel that I understand the pressures of being a teen,” said instructor Laura Brown. “Yoga can increase your confidence, reduce stress, and improve both mental health and physical health.”

After talking with Brown, I sat down with the founder of the institute, Shashi Pottathil. He has been practicing yoga for more than 40 years. Many people associate yoga with a religion or culture, he said. But he has a different definition.

“Yoga is the management of the many systems in our body—respiratory, digestive, nervous, muscular, skeletal, and immune,” Pottathil explained. “Yoga can balance a person’s neurons, positively affecting memory, speed, and balance.”



Arjun takes a yoga class in San Diego, California.


Pottathil thinks that today’s teens can benefit greatly from the practice of yoga. “They’re not using their brain’s full potential,” he said. “Teenagers are messing up their body when they look down at their phone. They’re not moving enough, which is weakening their systems.” He passionately believes that his “goal with teaching yoga is to prevent crisis before it happens.”

Indeed, after my first class, I immediately felt calmer and more relaxed. Have you tried yoga yet?

Photos courtesy of the author