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Adolescence Problems and Yoga

The origin of the word adolescence is from the Latin verb 'adolescere', which means, "to grow up." Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. 

This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes. The teenage years are from ages 13 to 19. In fact, early adolescence is the most difficult phase of life as children cannot express their problems correctly because their power of expression and their knowledge of their own psychology is not mature enough. Due to physical changes, hormonal changes and constantly changing moods, teenaged children have many unexplained and unexpressed problems.

Common adolescent problems are:
Loneliness, feeling misunderstood, difficulty communicating new experiences, unable to talk to parents or trusted adults about their experiences, feeling isolated.

Emotional problems are:
Anger, hatred, confusion, low self esteem, low confidence, a feeling of inferiority and uselessness, feeling lost, frightened, depression, jealousy and envy.

Other problems are:
Abusing the body with lack of proper nutrition, wrong eating habits, lack of sufficient water, alcohol, smoking and drugs

ADRENAL GLANDS

These glands have a very important role to play in the child’s moral & emotional behavior like fear and love. If there is an imbalance in theses glands, behavior will be affected. For example, if there is an excess of adrenal secretions, the child will be full of fears. He will not be able to face difficult people. The cause of the problem is not ethical or moral or even social, it is a psycho-physiological. Sometimes physical growth and psychological growth do not mature together. It is related to the brain, nervous system and endocrine system. At times physical growth is more advanced than mental growth and at times the vice versa. Usually those with criminal tendencies have an overactive adrenal system. All we need to do is balance the adrenal secretions to change the character of the child.

PINEAL GLAND

The pineal gland is a very important gland and is situated in the brain at the top of the medulla oblongata. In Yoga it is known as Ajna Chakra and is very active in children. It has a balancing influence on the activities of the brain & keeps it in receptive order. By the time children reach the age of eight or ten, it begins to decay and calcify and with that a major controlling lock upon the function of the pituitary gland is released. When this control is released, pituitary hormones begin to form and enter the blood stream and the emotions shoot up. The moment the regression of the pineal gland is complete, the emotional growth becomes rapid and the child finds it difficult to adjust. Aggressive, antisocial and delinquent behavior which signals the onset of puberty and sexual activity can arise at any time. This is the reason why so many children become emotionally unbalanced and disturbed during their pre-adolescent and adolescent years.

BALANCING THE HORMONES

Sexual consciousness should develop when the child is able to balance his reaction in his mind. Nowadays, as children grow up, their pineal gland begins to decay and their pituitary gland begins to develop automatically before the child possesses the mental and emotional stability to cope with such hormonal drives. As a result, the whole confusion starts at the wrong time. The child becomes restless because he/she is not physically ready to express this new development. This causes an imbalance between their mental and vital fields, ultimately affecting their behavior. 

If we can delay emotional growth in relation to physical growth, the child’s stability is enhanced greatly. To remove these kinds of problems of children, we will have to study the emotional effects of the hormones in the system. Sometimes such problems are also caused by an imbalance of the thyroid hormones. To do this we have to maintain the health of the pineal gland and for this the practice of Shambhvi Mudra (concentration of the eyes at the eyebrow centre) is very important.

YOGA

Yoga is the perfect balance for the changes of adolescence. Regular practice of Yoga can maintain the health of the pineal gland and add extra years to its life. It increases the flow of endorphins, the body's natural antidepressant. 

Yoga should be properly introduced to children by educators in every school just as we teach other subjects. Then young people everywhere would be well adjusted, healthy and happy both physically and mentally. They would be more aware of their own potential and more capable of its realization. The destiny of the whole world depends on the little children. Regular practice of Surya Namaskara (a dynamic yoga exercise), Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (for health and balance of the pineal gland) Mantra (to challenge the child’s distracted mind) and Shambhavi Mudra with visualization (to maintain the pineal gland) are very beneficial. These practices not only help the child to maintain psycho-emotional balance but also develop his mental growth as well.

SURYA NAMASKARA

Surya Namaskara influences the pineal gland and hypothalamus, helping to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification. This balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children. When one performs Surya Namaskara synchronizing the physical movements with the breath, all the muscles, joints and major internal organs are stimulated and balanced.

NADI SHODHANA PRANAYAMA

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama induces tranquility, clarity of thought and concentration. It keeps the pineal gland healthy for as long as possible. As long as your pineal gland is healthy your sexual glands will remain under control. The flow of Prana in Ida and Pingala Nadis is equalized. Blood is purified of toxins.

MANTRA

Relaxing the brain through Mantra is one of the methods of increasing perception. The superficial aspects of thoughts, emotions or desires which are not needed within the mind and which need to be expressed will be swept away by the Mantra. A proper Asana or posture should be selected and maintained for the duration of the practice so that there is no movement to distract the concentration.

SHAMBHAVI MUDRA


During Shambhavi Mudra the eyes are moved to a fixed gaze unblinking at the eyebrow centre awarefully. To make this Mudra more interesting, ask the child to visualize at the same time. We name about fifty items and let the child to visualize them one by one. He keeps on moving his awareness, saying to himself and seeing rising Sun, setting Sun, full moon, a pink rose, a flowing river, a snow capped mountain, a moving car, an aeroplane in flight, a guava fruit and so on. This practice not only helps the child to maintain psycho-emotional balance, it also develops his ability to visualize.

Shambhavi Mudra influences Ajna Chakra inwardly and delays sexual maturity until the correct time. It works remarkably for growing children and adolescents for balanced emotional development, concentration and stability.

Note:
If you are new to Yoga, it is recommended to practice these Asanas, Pranayama & Mudra under the guidance of an expert.

CONCLUSION

Every adolescent requires understanding, assistance, wise guidance, listening to and love if they are to pass through this important stage of development without damaging themselves or others. It is important not to abandon, reject or dislike a person just because he is experiencing the normal adolescence phase.


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti