The Tree (vrksasana) was the first yoga posture I remember taking home with me. I loved the way it made me feel when we did it in the Mudita yoga class I was taking at the time; so I started practicing it at home as well. I even made up some arm movements to go with it.
You can imagine my surprise when later I began the Dru Yoga teacher training and learned the Dru flowing tree synchronizes arm movements and breathing with this classic yoga posture. It was one of many ‘wow’ moments during the four-year training, a feeling of coming home, of being exactly where I ought to be. It’s only natural; therefore, that the tree is the first ‘homework’ assignment I’ll share with you.
Caution: Anyone with knee, hip, ankle and spine problems should exercise caution. Begin with simply putting your heel against the ankle of the balancing leg and/or use the wall or a chair for extra support.
- Take the time to stand tall and ground yourself in Tadasana.
- Transfer your weight to the left leg and focus your eyes on a point in front of you,
- Keeps your pelvis facing forward by contracting the muscles in your buttocks and by gently drawing in the abdominal muscles.
- On the in-breath raise your arms sideways until your arms are above your head and your hands palms are touching in Namaste. At the same time, bring your right heel against your left ankle with your toes on the ground. Of course you may place your right foot higher on the inside of the left leg if possible.
- As you breathe out, lower your joined hands in front of you to the level of your heart.
- Breathing in rotate your wrists so that your fingers point forwards.
- Breathe out as you extend the hands forward.
- Breathe in as you open your arms sideways.
- As you breathe out, lower your arms to the sides while your right foot returns to the floor.
- Continue this flowing sequence a few more times on each side.
Benefits of the Tree:
- Strengthens the leg muscles, especially your thighs and buttocks.
- Encourages a correct posture especially with the alignment of your ankles, feet and hips.
- Helps you gain mental steadiness, improving focus and concentration.
- Regular practice of the tree helps open your inner vision so that you see the world as it is, rather than as you would like it be.
Since I assume that most of you are current or past yoga students, I believe you are familiar with the movements described. If you want more explanation, you can always have a look at Dru Yoga Online, which also includes Dutch videos https://druyoga.com/yoga-online/home, or Youtube.
Remember to listen to your body and respect its limitations. Yoga will help you become more fit and limber, especially when you practice regularly, but don’t push yourself too soon. And most importantly…Don’t underestimate what a few good minutes of doing yoga in the morning can do for the rest of your day!