A tree lives through its roots drawing energy and balance from the unseen tangled web of its life-force. Trees adopt the pace of nature, they are patient, they live long and peacefully, standing tall, standing firm and enduring the harshest of climates and weather systems which Mother Nature expels. A tree embarks on a journey from humble beginnings, a mere and fragile seedling, her strength is cast over a long period of time. We can learn a lot from the nature of our beloved trees, especially when embodying the graceful steady stance of Vrikshasana, tree pose. It is a prevalent pose, whether you are new to Yoga or a longstanding dedicated Yogi. It is a powerful hip opener, balancing and stretching posture combined. Taking a leaf from nature adopt patience with your Vrikshasana. Do not be tempted to mimic others, placing your bent foot high at the detriment of twisting your trunk. Just consider that no tree looks the same and even the same tree will look different against the backdrop of the seasons. It will sway in the wind, it will cascade fruit and leaves, branches may fall. But a tree always remembers her truthful beginnings, her roots. If you remain true to your capabilities you will nurture a strong foundation where you will grow and flourish through your asanas.
Nurture your Vrikshasana, tree pose:
- Explore your hip opening. Practice Vrikshasana against the wall or on the floor. If both hips don’t touch the surface, make an adjustment to your bent leg until they do. It takes more strength and honesty to lower your leg or rotate your knee inwards. Not only are you remaining true to yourself, you now have awareness to work on hip opening asanas, like half pigeon pose.
- Your Drishti, focused gaze will have a profound effect on your sense of balance. It can guide awareness inward, centre your focus or generate movement. Find your centre of stillness by guiding your Drishti. How stable is your pose when you focus on a fixed object at eye level, above or below? Explore internal movement when you close your eyes or divert your focus to a moving object such as breezy tree leaves.
- It is not possible to grow with grace when you experience tension. Surrender and let it go softening your face, push your tongue to the roof or your mouth or better still, crack a smile.
- Take a moment to practice Ujjayi breathing creating a soft sound at the back of the throat which can sound like a gentle hissing or breeze blowing to settle your mind.
- The journey to stability and creating a strong foundation begins with the Muladhara, root chakra at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae. Tuck it in (rolling your hips down) and direct it towards the earth, creating strong core root from this point right to the base of your grounded foot.
- On each breath that you draw within, grow your upper body, (your “trunk”) from your abdomen elongate each vertebrae and intercostal muscle one by one.
- Hold your shoulders back to keep your chest and heart open by coming into Namaskar, prayer pose (hands to heart).
- Grow your tree, raise your arms like branches, open them wide and spread your hands wide like leaves, then allow your limbs to sway and dance with your breathful breeze.
Above all remember, that just like the trees, you are beautiful creation of nature. Hark back to your roots and the stability that being grounded can yield. Allow yourself time to grow. Do this and realise your dreams but never stop growing towards the heavens, flourishing and bearing fruit for all to see, taste and savour.