Yoga is considered one of the best forms of exercise to strengthen the body and quiet the mind. In today’s challenging world, who couldn’t benefit from a little more power and peace within? Â Yoga strengthens the mind and the body by syncing breath and movement through various postures – known as asanas. Â Everyone can enjoy the wonderful, healing benefits of a regular yoga practice, because the poses can easily be modified to fit an individual’s unique physical structure and limitations.
Improving balance in our body and our lives can be achieved by practicing Vrkasana or Tree Pose. Tree pose incorporates three lines of energy in the body, starting from the center reaching outward. The first line goes through the straight leg, the second extends up the spine going to the fingertips, and the third line of energy moves outward, going through the bent knee. Interesting, hugh? I like to ask my students to imagine themselves as a beautiful, tall oak tree with expansive branches and strong roots, deep into the earth. This is the foundation of the tree (Vrkasana) and our connection to the earth. With strong roots we have the ability to come back to our center – to find balance and stability, in an ever-changing, often turbulent world.
Stability and balance in our body is key for achieving an equanimous mind. Tree pose enhances mental concentration and helps calm the fluctuations of a busy mind. It strengthens the back, thighs, legs, calves, ankles and feet. Tree pose will Â improve flexibility of the groin, hips and knees. Individuals suffering from sciatica and flat feet will find strength and relief practicing this asana.
Lets get started trying:
1. Begin by aligning yourself in Tadasana, mountain pose or standing straight with both feet together. Focus your attention on a spot on the wall in front of you. Maintain your smooth and flowing breath.
2. On your next inhale, put most of your weight on your left foot as you start to balance. Root firmly through the four corners of your supporting foot, particularly the inner sole and slowly rise up! Draw your right footÂ up and place the sole against the inner left thigh; if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. The center of your pelvis should be directly over the left foot.Â Continue to steady your breath and drishti! Â Drishti is an external point of focus, a gaze-less gaze, which allows one to turn all attention inward (insight). Â Good stuff!
3. You may only bring your foot to your ankle at first – no worries! Continue breathing smoothly as you steady yourself. Trembling and shaking are signs of STRENGTH, your body getting stronger – never weakness!
4. As you inhale again, stretch out your arms sideways forming a “T”, with your palms facing down.
5. As you exhale, bring both palms together to form a prayer position. Make sure to keep your eyes focused on that point in front of your body.
6. Breath by breath, raise both arms overhead, while keeping palms in a prayer position. Maintaining grace throughout.
7. Practice until you are able to comfortably hold the pose for about 30 seconds. Deep, slow inhales and exhales will support you.
8. Repeat everything but this time try to stand on your right foot and lift your left.
Remember: we only get stronger by trying! Practice often, with patience and kindness. Â Always love – Allison
*Possible contraindications of Tree Pose may include the following: Headache, Insomnia, High Blood Pressure, Knee Injury and Pregnancy. *Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC