Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Teens Card Deck
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Based on her widely acclaimed card deck for children, mindfulness and yoga expert (and parent), Jennifer Cohen Harper, with Mayuri Gonzalez and Argos Gonzalez, has created a deck for teens to support a more balanced and healthy life.
This deck offers over 50 practices to help teens become stronger, more flexible, get better rest, manage anxiety, and learn to navigate stressful situations without becoming overwhelmed. Beautifully illustrated by Karen Gilmour, coupled with easy-to-read and easy-to-implement instructions.
Divided into five elements, Connect, Breathe, Move, Focus and Relax, along with partner and group practices, this card deck is a comprehensive yet accessible tool kit for teens themselves, as well as for parents, teachers, clinicians, coaches, and others interested in helping support self-awareness and increased personal power in young people.
Activities and practice sequences include:
Mindful techniques exploration
Grounding in the present
Releasing nervous energy
Back to back breathing
How to Use this Deck
Yoga and mindfulness have a lot to offer. The practices on these cards can help you get stronger and more flexible, manage feelings of anxiety, learn to navigate challenging situations without becoming overwhelmed, and much more. But perhaps the most important thing these practices can help you with is the ability to be more connected to yourself—your body, your mind and your emotions. When you are more connected to your own experience you can make better choices about how to care for yourself and how to respond to the world around you.
As you explore the activities on these cards, the most important thing is to notice what’s happening with you. What are you feeling in your body, in your mind, and in your emotions as you try the activities? Does your experience change or stay the same as you hold poses, or as you try them multiple times?
As you practice, do what feels right to you and trust your own body. If something doesn’t feel right (if it hurts, makes you uncomfortable, freaks you out a bit) pause and check out your feelings, and then make a decision about what to do that works for you in the moment. Have fun, work hard, and be curious about your experience.
Choose a Single Card:Choose just one card for a short 1-5 minute practice. Consider starting with a yoga seat, and ending with final relaxation each time you practice, even if you are only doing one activity.
Create a Sequence:Combine 3-7 cards for a longer practice. Try choosing a card from each of the categories: Connect, Breathe, Move, Focus, and Relax. See the “Putting it All Together” cards for some ideas, but feel free to mix it up and do what feels right for you.
Bringing Energy Up and Down:Check out the arrows on the right side of each card to learn more about how the activity might affect your energy level. As you choose your card or cards for practice, consider what your body needs at that moment. If you have time for a longer sequence, you might want to bring your energy up first, then bring it down for a final relaxation. Remember that practices affect people differently, so if a card says it will bring energy down, but you feel like it’s bringing your energy up, trust your body and your own instincts and decide if another practice would be better for you in that moment.
Group and Partner Cards:Some cards will ask you to work with a group of people or a partner. These cards are meant to help you connect with your friends and explore ways to get to know each other and have fun. Some cards have questions or suggestions, but feel free to add or adapt them as you and your friends see fit.
Yoga mat or no yoga mat?:Most practices can be done anywhere you are, with or without a yoga mat. You may want to use a mat (if you have one) to make the surface less slippery, or to have a clean space where you feel comfortable laying down, but if you feel good without a mat then it’s no problem not to use one.
Eyes open or closed?Many of the practices in this deck invite you to reflect on your inner experience. Sometimes closing your eyes will help you do this, but at other times it may not feel safe or comfortable to close your eyes. Make your own choice, and if closing your eyes doesn’t feel right you can always focus on one spot and keep your gaze there.
About the Authors
Jennifer Cohen Harperis the founder of Little Flower Yoga, and The School Yoga Project, which brings yoga and mindfulness to schools nationwide. She is the author ofLittle Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance, co-editor ofBest Practices for Yoga in Schools, and creator of the bestsellingYoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children Card Deck.
Mayuri Breen-Gonzalez, E-RYT, RCYT, is a nationally recognized presenter, trainer and instructor in mindfulness and children's yoga, leading teacher trainings and continuing education seminars at renowned retreat centers. She has more than 25 years of experience practicing yoga and mindfulness, and provides therapeutic yoga classes to children and families as well as teaching yoga and mindfulness classes in schools and community centers.
Argos Gonzalez, M.Ed., is a teacher, lecturer, and mindfulness and yoga instructor. He has 13 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY. Argos is certified through both Mindful Schools and Little Flower Yoga (LFY), and currently serves as the director of professional development for The School Yoga Project, a program of LFY.