Finding calm in the tumultuous teen years

Yoga has become a calming force in the minds and bodies of several Chilliwack teens who so desperately need it.

Laurea Palmantier (left) of Inner Vision Yoga leads a free youth yoga class at her studio on Monday.

Laurea Palmantier (left) of Inner Vision Yoga leads a free youth yoga class at her studio on Monday.

Sherise James waits for more than an hour after school every week to go to yoga.

She’s not a master yogi, isn’t into the hippie granola lifestyle, and like most teens her age, has a mind that is in constant go-go-go mode.

But for James, 14, yoga has become an outlet needed to calm her mind and body if only a couple times a week.

“It makes me happy,,” says James, a Grade 9 student at Chance Alternate. “It helps me cope with a lot of things. It helps me get through the day.”

James isn’t the only teen in Chilliwack benefitting from the spiritual powers of yoga.

Last year Laurea Palmantier, co-owner of Inner Vision Yoga in Vedder, started donating yoga time at Chance Alternate. Asked by a client if she’d be interested, Palmantier jumped at the opportunity. She hadn’t worked with youth prior and wanted to see how yoga could benefit that generation like it had hers.

The program was a huge success. Girls, boys, young athletes, troubled youth all signed up, and all benefitted.

In January, Palmantier, in partnership with Chilliwack Youth Services, opened those classes up to the wider community, offering once a week in-studio classes to youth, free of charge.

“There’s a lot of focus on competitive sports for youth, but not much in terms of this,” says Palmantier. “I’m hoping it gives them an outlet to just be themselves and be happy with being themselves.”

While yoga may be seen as an oxymoron when paired with teens, for several in Chilliwack, it became the calming force their minds and bodies so desperately needed.

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos and text messages, today’s youth rarely have a chance to just be.

Bradin Logan-Litke easily falls into that category.

The 14-year-old is a budding athlete,  committed to several high intensity sports including football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, weight-lifting, jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts, and running.

Yoga not only accentuates his athletic endeavors, keeping him loose and limber, but also relaxes his mind.

“It helps me keep my cool,” he shrugs. “A lot of the other sports I’m into are rougher and really intense and it’s easy to lose your cool. This keeps me calm.”

For 45 minutes, youth from 12 to 16 years old leave their teenaged worries behind and put their focus into downward facing dog, sun salutation, peaceful warrior, tree pose. They breathe.

“Nice deep breaths,” Palmantier instructs. “Let your belly fill up like a balloon, and as you exhale, bring your belly button towards your spine.

For every position, Palmantier says the yoga name, and then describes it in a way they’ll easily understand.

Downward facing dog: upside down V.

Plank: high pushup, the flat of your back, straight as a stick.

Cobra: like a snake, back arched, shoulders squared, chest out.

With youth, Palmantier purposely tones down the spiritual side of yoga and keeps the pace of the class steadily moving. She doesn’t want to overwhelm them, or want them to become fidgety with boredom. She wants them to discover what yoga can do for them, with the hope they’ll explore further into the spiritual side down the road.

“It’s a way for these kids to cope with the every day stresses of being a teenager,” says Palmantier. “Yoga encourages them to tune into themselves and their personal power, to build on their inner confidence and not be susceptible to peer pressure.”

The positive changes she’s seen is reward enough for Palmantier.

“The changes are subtle,” she says. “Their posture has improved, they’re relaxing, they can sit still.

“There’s an increase in body awareness as well,” she says. “When they can balance on one leg and have discovered the strength of their own body, that is so important.”

Without yoga, “it’s something they might not have even tried.”

“Let your mind be still,” Palmantier tells the class sitting cross legged before her. “For just a couple moments, try to let go of everything else from the day. Any worries, stresses, let them go.”

And just be.

Youth yoga is offered at Inner Vision Studio on Lark Road every Monday from 3:15 to 4 p.m.

For more information, contact the studio at 604-824-5555 or visit the website www.innervisionyoga.ca.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read