To do the posture: Come to standing. Bring the feet together, big toes to touch or line-up the feet under the hips and knees for more support. In either position, bring the feet parallel to each other. With the breath, inhale to lift the arms over the head and exhale to bring the arms back down to the sides. Do that a few times to begin bringing a little movement and breath into the body. Slow the breathing down and take in a little more air on the inhale and release slowly to be empty of air on the exhale.
Bring the palms to the heart space. Connect each finger and connect the thumbs to the sternum. Find a drishti gaze, a focus point that is non-moving straight ahead so that your head and neck is neutral. Shift the weight to the left foot. With the help of your hands, lift the right foot and place it at the ankle, calf, or inner thigh. Avoid bringing the foot to the knee joint. This could be injurious to the knee. Bring the palms back to the heart. Lift the heart space into the palms.
Notice the breath. Follow the breath as it moves up and down the spine. Patiently, inhale, and feel the chest and back expand. Exhale and feel the body soften and the mind become still. Continue breathing during your efforts to balance in tree. Stay here for 3-5 full rounds of breath, inhales and exhales, or stay up to a minute. Practice on other side for balance in the body and the mind.
Adjustments: Press the sole of the foot into the thigh as much as the thigh is pressing into the foot for balance. Lengthen the tailbone towards the heel. Notice how the foot is constantly shifting and moving to find balance. Lift the chest and broaden through the collarbones. Relax the shoulders down the back.
Benefits of the tree pose include building concentration and balance, strengthening the thighs, calves and ankles, as well as a nice stretch for the chest, shoulders, and inner thighs.
Tiny muscles in the feet are working hard to help the central nervous system find balance. These small stabilizers muscles help to balance us each day and strengthening them will help to keep us strong and free from injury. The small movements that we make to find balance, are good reminders of how we can move throughout our day, in a non-reactive and mindful fashion.
We make subtle movements rather than large shifts in order to find stability. Practice with intention, thought and compassion.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga
Christi is a certified yoga instructor that focuses on teaching adults, small group and private lessons, kids and family yoga. She has an intimate space in Clairemont, San Diego, located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. Christi believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, she carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class schedule and instructors.