September is National Yoga Month and it’s time to celebrate! We’ve talked about the benefits of yoga for the entire family and know it can be especially helpful for children. From Yoga Cards, videos and games to a plethora of books, yoga really is accessible no matter where you live – you don’t have to be enrolled in a studio to partake. So if you’re ready to delve in right now, might I suggest taking a few rounds of deep breathing and Give Trees a Chance. That’s right, Vrksasana or “Tree Pose” is the quintessential yoga pose — especially when it comes to fitness models of outdoorsy type ads (think a Kashi cereal spread perhaps?)
For Tree Pose
- Stand tall with hands by your side and your feet about hip-width’s distance apart – weight evenly balanced between each foot.
- Start by transferring weight into your left foot and lifting the right leg so the inside arch rests on the inside of the left ankle.
- Pause here or begin to move the right leg further up the left side of the calf or above the kneecap; ultimately placing the sole of the right foot inside the left inner thigh.
- Bring hands to your heart in a prayer position or experiment with variations for the hands and arms.
- Take five slows rounds of breath inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
- Release back out of the posture the opposite way you came in and repeat on the other side.
In “Yoga for Children” (Simon & Schuster, 1992) authors Mary Stewart and Kathy Phillips put a unique twist on the childhood favorite game “Mother May I?” by having children “freeze” in tree pose, saying that “swaying about is allowed but anyone caught with both feet on the floor has to go to the back and start again.” At the Yoga Playdate class I teach, we opt for freezing in Tree Pose for “Red Light: Green Light” or just having parents and children use each other for balance (as my offspring and I demo).
Besides improving balance, the benefits of Tree pose range from strengthening the thighs, calves, ankles and spine to reducing flat feet. Check out more information on the benefits of Tree Pose at Yoga Journal.
Enjoy, have fun and Namaste!
Photo Credit MonkeyG Clothing