Thanks to all the kids who came out for Alluem's Special Fall Workshop! With a focus on the fall season, "Tree Pose" was a necessary pose of the day! I broke out a wonderfully empowering picture book called "The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story" by Uma Krishnaswami. When the little girl in the story is chosen to be a tree in the school play, she finds herself very wobbly and uneasy. After signing up for a local children's yoga class, she learns how to breathe slowly and deeply, to "stretch like a rubber band", and coordinate her arms and legs in "smooth, slow movements." One day during class she realizes that "I can change my body by how I feel inside. If I'm quiet inside, then my body will be still".
Being aware of your body is an amazing skill for an adult let alone a child! Whether that child feels comfortable, clumsy, graceful, or awkward - the important point is that child is feeling. With use of the breath and movement, that child can learn to deal with whatever feeling arise. To illustrate the point, I had the kids play the "Tree Game". Splitting up into 2 groups, the first round consisted of one group coming into Tree Pose scattered around the room, in a forest of sorts. The second group was told to run around, laugh, and be silly. The only rule was they could not touch the trees. The trees would have to do their best to focus with all that was going on around them. Round 2 consisted of one group coming back into Tree Pose, while the second group simply walked around the room, circling the trees, whistling, talking, but nothing rowdy. In the third and final round, while one group came into Tree Pose, the other went into Child's Pose in front of each tree. They were to be a rock, a drishti, a focal point for the trees.
We then discussed which round was the easiest for the trees and which was the hardest. How much strength did it take for the trees to balance with all the distraction? Did the trees appreciate when the other children acted as a rock for the trees? How can they use this focus in every day life when there is a lot going on around them? How can they learn to relax and let go when things quiet down?
There is so much to learn from being a tree!