Born from a tiny seed in the earth, the tree breaks though and begins a steady ascent upwards, roots reaching down deeper and deeper. Gales shake the sapling’s branches, yet the tree-flexible and strong- remains resilient. Bending with the gusts of wind, bowing under the weight of ice and rain, the tree continues to grow, all the while sustaining a myriad of life forms within its branches. Even after succumbing to parasites and lecherous vines, the tree, undeterred, continues to give new life in the form of nutrients seeping from its decaying body. The tree is the embodiment of selflessness. Givers of life and shelter, trees ask nothing of their surrounding environment.
So often we find ourselves in a repetitious rut, replaying situations and emotions over and over, stuck under the weight of our ego. When we turn our gaze outward, we bring awareness of our true selves inward. Like the tree, nurturing those around us perpetuates the beauty of our own existence. Chronic worry and anxiety stems from a fixation on the self, and the glorification of imagined needs. Allow yourself to be as a tree, a steady beacon of life and gratitude for living.
Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, is an expansive and steadying posture that is ideal for beginners and experienced yogis alike. To ease into this pose, first allow yourself to lie on your back with both legs straight. Bend the right knee and bring the foot to the upper-inner thigh of the left leg. Allow the right knee to settle down towards the floor, and rest your palms on your hips. Level the hipbones onto the same horizontal plane by tucking the pelvis up towards the navel. After ten breaths, repeat on opposite side. In this supine version of Vrksasana, the body is allowed to ease into the posture while the abdominals are encouraged to engage.
Arrive in Tadasana. Feel all four corners of the feet grounded into the earth, and lift the arms over head, stretching the side body. Shifting the weight into the left foot, bring the right sole to the left thigh. If you are straining to find the thigh with the foot, allow the sole to rest on the shin. Never rest your foot on the side of your knee! Allow the hands to settle at heart’s center for Anjali Mudra (prayer hands), and tuck the pelvis toward the navel, as in supine Vrksasana. Engaging the right outer thigh, feel the knee reach even further out to the periphery of the pose. Lifting your prayer to the sky, open the shoulders and grow upwards, the side body lengthening with each inhale, and the tailbone rooting with every exhale. Bringing your hands back to Anjali Mudra, allow the right foot to settle next to the left, and once again find Tadasana.