The yoga-based program addresses issues of self-image and esteem.

The yoga-based program addresses issues of self-image and esteem.

Being a teen can be challenging, especially when you consider outside influences such as magazine covers and the desire to fit in with peers.

Building on the success of a program she taught at the University of British Columbia, local yoga instructor Susan Alexander has developed a workshop for teens and tweens to address issues of self-image and esteem. 

Combining her mindfulness yoga and meditation training with her masters’ studies in integral counseling psychology, Alexander has created “Uniquely You,” an interactive learning workshop to empower young girls as they transition through adolescence into young adulthood.

The program is for those who desire to learn more about themselves and the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. It uses basic yoga principles to help participants feel strong in body and more accepting of themselves and others. Conscious breathing and basic yoga poses which encourage resting both mind and body (without going to sleep) are taught as tools to help calm nerves and deal with pressure.

In each class, yoga practice is combined with fun interactive projects exploring creative ways to look at body image, confidence building and expressing feelings. “For example, body mapping (creating full-sized outlines) helps identify both physical and non-physical characteristics,” says Alexander. “The girls learn more about themselves and things that make them special, which other people see and they may not.”  She notes that this activity can be a profound – and fun – way of developing compassion and support for others.

Each class covers topics such as setting goals, improving body image, eating healthily, maintaining positive relationships, resolving conflicts, building confidence, reducing stress, and managing emotions. Topics are explored through yoga, mindful meditation, journaling and art. Partner poses, team building and trust games are important elements as well enhancing relationship with others.  

A five-session workshop for girls ages 11-16 is being offered this fall at Evolve Yoga and discussions are in the works for an on-going program at the Eisenhower Wellness Institute. Alexander is also available to work in-house with groups seeking to introduce this type of program to their organization.

“The transformation I see is both inspiring and rewarding,” she adds. “Girls who started off saying, ‘I can’t do that’ walk away saying ‘I never thought I could do that before!’”

For more information contact Susan Alexander at (760) 834.1748 or [email protected].

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