Why I teach Tween Yoga
There is an epidemic of women and girls who do not value themselves. Generations of women taught to be quiet, docile, and insecure; Generations of women told not to make men feel uncomfortable with their intelligence or leadership. Taught that other women are competition and are to be feared and knocked down. Generations of women that heard “ Don’t be bossy.” “ Don’t show off.” “Don’t be conceited.” Instead of “ Great leadership skills!”, “Good for you for knowing you’re worth.” “Be proud!”
I was once this woman, a woman who felt other women were a threat because I was not secure in my own femininity and power. Yoga taught me a different way. Yoga taught me to thank my body, which I had been complaining about. The body I thought was too fat, too weak, not toned enough, not ____ enough, yoga taught me to appreciate it. Yoga gave me a self-confidence, self-love, self-empowerment that eventually translated in seeing myself in a whole new light. Once I discovered my own power I started to see all the ways I was tearing other women down, women who were suffering the same way I was. I saw how I was a part of the problem.
I teach tween girls yoga so girls don’t ever have to fix the same issues it’s taken me (and continues to take me) years to fix. In class the girls learn about their own power before they get years of society and the media taking it away from them with doubt. They learn how to trust their own body and mind, they learn how to discern, and they learn to trust themselves. I make sure to tell the girls that they don’t have to do any postures they don’t want to do. I tell them to use their brains and their intuition to decide if something feels good or not. Yoga teaches them to applaud each other’s triumphs and remove jealousy from the way they feel about others’ accomplishments. They grow strong, flexible and connected with themselves. Yoga teaches them to explore, play and fail graciously. Yoga teaches them how a perceived failure is actually an opportunity to improve and succeed. Yoga teaches them that perseverance pays off and that trying and being kind to yourself and others is the most important thing- not the pose itself. Yoga teaches them to honor and respect their bodies and boundaries now so that they can remember how special they are later in life. So they can remember not to give away their power or even think their power comes from their sexuality. Yoga teaches girls their power comes from their character and actions.
In a time where kids are overcommitted, over tested, and bombarded with noise from media, games, school, TV, and each other, we take the time to meditate and slow down all that external noise to focus on breath. I try to teach the girls to be ok with quiet and stillness so that they can cut through all the white noise to get to their own voices. Learning to meditate young sets the tone for being able to meditate later in life. I teach them that quiet is not a punishment but a gift, a moment to collect their thoughts and energies, a moment to come back to themselves.
I teach tween yoga for every little girl that will one day be a woman. So that these girls can bring a new generation of confidence, love, support to the world. So that each little girl can grow into a woman who loves herself because anyone who cannot love themself cannot truly love others. I teach tween girls yoga for an elevation of love and acceptance in the world.
Maybe one day we’ll realize we’re all in this together, until then, I teach.