The yoga pose known as the “Tree” is perfect for the season of Spring, signifying, as it does, a wonderful upward growth that refreshes body and mind. Tree Pose enhances the sense of balance and rootedness.
Here are the easy-to-follow, easy-to-do directions for this balancing, refreshing form of body-mind-spirit exercise.
A tree stays upright by its network of roots that spreads out and pulls downward. Similarly, the body must develop a feeling of being pulled down into the ground. The tree grows upward toward the sky, and the body, too, relies on a two-way movement at the back of the waist to maintain balance, lengthening the spine upward with the breath as the weight drops toward the feet.
In Tree Pose, everything below the waist sinks down, while the upper body lengthens up with the exhalation.
We recommend doing this pose barefoot. Feel free to use a chair to help yourself balance: directions for doing the pose this way are included.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your weight evenly in both feet. Now take your weight onto your left leg. Exhale and bend your right knee up, rotating your hip and placing the right foot on the upper thigh of the left leg with the heel close to the crotch and the toes pointing down. To get the foot higher, hold the ankle with your right hand and move the foot up. Allow the bent knee to press the heel in against the thigh, while the thigh is strong in return against the foot. Inhale as needed.
2. Keep the standing ankle tall and straight. The foot stays quiet, expanding against the ground, weight in the heel. When balancing, feel the vertical action of gravity drawing you straighter over your supporting leg. If the balance is difficult, place your hand on the back of a chair. Fold the knee in nearest the chair as this improves straightness and balance over the supporting leg.
3. Drop your weight down through your tailbone while lengthening your spine up to the crown of your head with each exhale.
3. Exhale and place the palms of your hands together in the prayer position a few inches from your chest. If you feel ready, raise your arms above your head. You may want to spread your hands apart and visualize them as branches. Don’t be afraid to sway a little: trees sway. Let the in-breath come easily.
4. After holding the pose for a few moments, lower your arms and foot and repeat the pose standing on the right leg.
Adapted from The Yoga Year by Celia Toler (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Celia Toler. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Yoga Year by Celia Toler (Storey Books, 2001).
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