Tree Pose Exploration
Tree pose is among the most recognizable of yoga poses for a good reason. It is a balancing pose that is both challenging and achievable, and once you’ve practiced a bit the feeling of steadily grounding down and reaching up at the same time is very satisfying.
Tree pose is also the perfect place to play and explore how staying strongly connected to one focus point can make a huge difference in the experience of your body. You can practice this with your own children, or with the kids you work with, without even using a yoga mat. Be playful, and approach the practice as an exploration.
In the Spring, take your practice outside, and bring the energy of the sun and the spring air into your body.
- Begin standing in mountain pose on your yoga mat.
- Find a place to rest your gaze that is straight out in front of you. This is called a drishti. It is very helpful to give your students something specific to look at, such as a small stone placed in the middle of the circle. Keep staring at that spot throughout the entire practice.
- Slowly lift your right foot up off of the ground. Bend your knee and turn it out to the side, so that you can place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left calf.
- Try to relax the foot of your standing leg. Notice if you are curling up your toes, and if so wiggle them a little to help them relax.
- Imagine your standing leg growing roots deep into the ground to hold you steady.
- Press your foot into your leg, and your leg back into your foot.
- Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Pause for a moment and then lift them strongly up overhead.
- As your standing leg grounds down into the earth, imagine your whole body lifting up toward the sky.
- When you are ready to switch sides, turn your right knee to the front, pause, and then slowly lower it down. Then practice tree pose with your left leg.
- Now practice tree pose again, but this time, give your kids the following options for experimentation:
- While in your pose, look up, then right, then left, then down…move your eyes quickly and notice what happens in your body.
- Now try looking out a window, at leaves blowing on trees, cars going by, or anything else that has a bit of movement to it.
- Finally try closing your eyes, and see what happens to your balance.
* Discuss how the placement of the gaze impacts the experience they are having in their bodies. You may want to finish up with one more round using a steady gaze point. Don’t forget to practice along with your kids!
Get instructions for many more activities for children and families in LFY founder Jennifer Cohen Harpers book, Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance, available now from New Harbinger Publications.