With Spring Equinox coming up (in this hemisphere), it’s a great time to think about bringing our lives into balance.
Brilliant for grounding and balance, Tree is a wonderful barometer for our concentration. Some days, we might pop up effortlessly. Other times, our thoughts get in the way, we lose focus and keep falling out.
The vestibular system is influenced by our emotions so the kinder we can be to ourselves if we fall out of Tree, the easier it is to rebalance and bring ourselves back up. Great metaphor for life’s hurdles. And, of course, a practice and easier said than done.
If you lose your balance, pause to reground before coming back up again.
As well as aiding physical balance and centering the mind, Tree is great for boosting concentration. Start with a minute on each side (or a few seconds – start where you are. It’ll come with practice) and aim to build up to holding it for 5 minutes on each side.
From Mountain pose, focus your eyes on something still. Feel the soles of the feet supported by the mat and ground below you. Imagine growing roots from the foot you’re going to start with, going deep into the earth and supporting you.
Allow your weight to go more into this first foot and when you feel ready, keeping your hips square and even, lift the other foot to the ankle, calf or thigh (not on the knee as you don’t want to put pressure on the joint).
Rest the hands at the heart centre or above the head. Again, notice which variation helps you feel most balanced.
Even if you feel like you’re low, you’ll really notice results if you keep practicing. Start lower and build up from a place of strength, grounding and balance.
Use all available resources, too. As well as keeping your eyes focused on something still (I really love the beams at Feel Better Every Day. Although they’re slightly wonky with it being such an old building, it’s great to have that tree energy in the space), use a wall or chair or similar for support if needed.
If you have high blood pressure, avoid the arms outstretched like branches above your head variation. If you have insomnia, avoid doing this in the late afternoon or evening.
It’s a great way to wake up the body, imagining the sun’s healing rays pouring into your leaves and branches but you don’t want to be waking yourself up like that before bedtime.
What do you think of Tree?
What’s your favourite variation?
What else helps you balance?
IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM