Guest Author - Tracy Webb
Nothing says nature and grounding quite like The Tree pose. Practicing it can be quite tricky. Balance, however, is the key to your success. Balancing postures are notoriously challenging, however, with practice and patience you will soon find yourself fully supported and perfectly poised.
Yoga is about being in harmony with life and self; it allows us to feel connected to the earth and find our natural balance within. The Tree posture is very grounding and helps us to gain focus and upper body support so it is well worth persisting with it.
Balancing postures are closely connected to our state of mind, so a calm and persistent approach is necessary to succeed. Focusing on the breath while gazing at a specific point in front of you is a great way to achieve balance when practicing yoga, and beneficial to maintaining focus in daily activities.
Practicing The Tree in nature is wonderful as you can feel the earth beneath your feet as if they are planted into the ground. I imagine roots coming from my feet and going into the earth to stabilize me in the posture.
Practicing The Tree
Stand tall with feet together and bring your attention to your feet.
Connect with your breath and hold a steady gaze in front of you.
Shift your weight onto the right foot and spread your toes out for extra support.
Slowly lift your left foot and rest it on your inner thigh.
Alternatively, start by taking the foot to the ankle or calf until you are ready to perform the full posture. Go at your own pace and build up gradually.
Ensure the leg is pushed out to the side so the hip is open.
Keep the spine straight and extended upwards while pushing the tail bone and shoulders down.
Slowly bring the palms together in front of your chest and if your balance is steady lift your arms up and place your hands on top of your head.
Keep the elbows bent and palms together pointing upwards.
Hold the pose for a few breaths.
To release the posture, take arms slowly out to the side and bring the foot down to the ground.
Lower arms and relax for a minute before repeating on the other side.
As with all asana, take your time and do them consciously. This one may take some time to master although its a lot of fun to practice. Dont be disheartened if it takes you a while to find your balance. Stop and focus on the breath for a few rounds, and when you feel centered again give it another go.
For further support with your postures, I recommend The Yoga Bible book, available at Amazon.