Tree pose is a basic yoga pose that helps children develop their balance. It strengthens shoulders, knees, and ankles. Whenever you practice a yoga pose that puts only one side of the body to work, as is the case with tree pose, it’s very important that you work both sides of the body to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain.
Tree pose is especially interesting because it helps children understand the importance of being calm. Do not hesitate to help them notice how holding the pose is much easier when they are relaxed. For example, you can say, “Your body is calm, you can hold tree pose without losing your balance.”
Basic instructions for tree pose:
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Carry the weight of your body onto one leg.
- Slowly, lift your opposite foot and rest it on your thigh, your ankle, or just below your knee (the higher your foot is, the harder it will be to stay balanced).
- Focus on a spot a few feet in front of you and maintain your balance.
- Breathe in and extend your arms above your head or bring them to your heart in prayer position.
- Breathe out and bring your arms and leg back to your starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
How to teach children to do tree pose:
- Open, print, and laminate the following document: (Open tree pose).
- Show children the picture and let them see you doing tree pose.
- Give them the basic instructions listed above.
- Do the pose with them.
- Don’t forget to work both sides of the body.
When should you use tree pose?
- To help children focus on “here and now”.
- To improve children’s balance.
- To help children remain calm.
A few variations:
- Have children work with a partner. They can face each other and hold hands as they do tree pose simultaneously.
- Have them extend their arms up towards the sky as they breathe in, moving them gently like tree branches swaying in a light breeze.
Maude Dubé, Specialized educator