The Dancing Forest: A Yoga Game for Families and Classrooms
May 12, 2010
Reprinted from Kids on the Mat column, Yogi Times, October 2005
For all ages
What you will need:
- Space to move
- Your family, friends or classmates
Step One: Choose the music. Pick 3 or more songs that you love.
Step Two: Create a space. Find an area that has some open space. Carefully move away any delicate or breakable items. Ask for help if you need to move anything heavy. Set up a cd, tape, record player or radio. Collect a few items that remind you of a forest such as leaves, pictures of trees in books, toy trees or live plants. Place them in the center of the space.
Step Three: Gather your family and/or friends. Pretend that each person is a tree in the same forest. Everyone shares what kind of tree he or she would like to be.
Step Four: Play! Take turns being in charge of the music. While the music is ON, everyone gets to dance or do any yoga poses they wish. When the music STOPS,everyone stands tall and still with feet together in mountain pose. Next, take a deep breath in and out. Then, slowly begin to grow into a tree.
- Grow millions of roots into the Earth. Spread your toes apart. Feel your roots reaching down and drawing in nutrients from the soil of the forest.
- Make your center as strong as the trunk of a tree.
- Place the sole of one foot on the inside of the other leg, either below or above the knee. Find your balance by keeping your roots spread wide and your center steady.
- Use the forest objects in the middle of the space to focus on. Try to look at one item the whole time. When our eyes get still it is much easier to balance.
- Grow branches up and out in all directions.
After a few moments of tree pose, start the music again and begin be a dancing tree. Repeat as many times as you wish. BE SURE to change legs each time you practice tree pose. Remind each other when the music stops to switch sides.
- Try lots of different kinds of music. All kinds of music can work; slow and peaceful or fast and rhythmic.
- One variation is to keep the feet rooted to floor while the music is on and move the rest of the body like a tree bending in the wind.
- If tree pose is easy, try closing your eyes!
- Name your forest. Imagine what kinds of creatures and plants will live there.
- Try this game at birthday parties, sleepovers and even at school.
- You can also play this game in a real forest making your own music with instruments and voices.
To learn lots more games and meaningful ways to share yoga with children, join our teachers training course in May in Los Angeles or June in New Orleans. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, or visit www.shantigeneration.com