Yoga and Your Teen: Balancing Mind and Body to Fight Depression


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 3 millions teens between the ages of 12 and 17 have a major depressive episode at least once. While there are several different methods used today to treat depression, like journaling, individual therapy, group therapy and medication, yoga has been found to be very beneficial as well. Research published in the National Library of Medicine found that multiple studies have proven that yoga can be a tool for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

Unlike many other forms of depression assistance, yoga focuses on both the mind and the body, providing benefits to each that help reduce depression.

Gentle, Yet Physical

Yoga is unlike any other type of exercise. Your daughter may not burn the same amount of calories doing 30 minutes of yoga as she would if she were running or riding a bike, but that doesn’t mean that this type of exercise isn’t extremely physical. In fact, it takes quite a bit of physical strength and endurance to get though the various poses in a 30 minute class.

But what does this have to do with depression?

Like any other type of exercise, practicing yoga releases endorphins- those feel-good hormones that reduce pain naturally. At the same time, yoga lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate, increases muscle relaxation and increases the capacity to breathe.

Mental Health and Yoga

A Harvard study found that yoga is so beneficial to teens with a depression that it is capable of improving depression by 50 percent. The same study also evaluated the effect of yoga on a person’s overall well-being and anxiety. The results were a 65 and 30 percent improvement respectively. While yoga has been found to help with emotional issues, not matter the cause, imagine what the result would be if this exercise was combined with therapy.

Social Benefits

When teens are experiencing a major depressive episode, they may have trouble opening up to others, even those that are their peers. Yoga is perfect for this type of situation. Attending yoga classes can let your daughter establish new friends, or at least bond with other girls. It also gives her a floor to practice her communication skills with some of her own peers.

Yoga at Greenbrier Academy

At our boarding school, we recognize just how powerful yoga can be when it comes to teen depression. Students can participate in classes for yoga, as well as other beneficial exercises like running, Pilates, free weights and more. If your daughter enjoys team-based sports instead, we offer these as well.

In addition, your teen will be given the opportunity at our boarding school to participate in other activities that may help improve her depression, like therapy, art club, drumming and Aspirations. Through Strong Relationality, we will help her understand how her past and present relationships can be changed to overcome the helplessness of a depression diagnosis. This concept is used in every aspect of our boarding school, including your daughter’s therapy, education and extracurricular activities.

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