Vrksasana - Tree Pose
A tree acts like an enormous sponge that absorbs carbon dioxide, producing life-giving oxygen in return. Our own bodies are doing the opposite. Ourselves and the tree are in perfect gaseous sync and taking the shape of the tree can activate all its potent points, increasing absorption of life-giving Prana and elimination of used air.
We're starting into the Autumn season now and according to Ayurvedic wisdom the heat which accumulates in the body over Summer and Late Summer becomes problematic if management of ‘Pitta dosha’ is poor. The remedial action of each Autumn Season is to help the body to treat the accumulation of heat (pitta dosha) whilst not aggravating any effects of the new Autumn Winds (vata dosha).
A great pose for this is Vrksasana (Tree Pose) which tranquilises the mind (cools Sadhaka pitta); Increases concentration (strengthens the nervous system/vata dosha); Calms and relaxes the central nervous system combating stress symptoms (Vata and Pitta dosha); Helps patience and mental focus (cools Sadhaka Pitta); improves balance (counters excess heat and directs Vata dosha).
This is a pose that is great to calm and cool - an all around Autumn win!
· If you are unable to bring your foot to your thigh or calf, rest your instep into your arch of the supporting leg, instead, resting the toes of your raised foot on the floor.
· If you are very unsteady, try practicing the pose with your back against a wall for extra support. Alternatively, you can place a chair next to the standing-leg side of your body and rest your hand on the back of the chair for extra support.
· For a greater challenge when your arms are overhead, close your eyes. Practice balancing without using the outside world for reference.
Some teachers will have you hold your arms above the head with the palms together, others asking you to spread the arms wide like branches. Whatever you do with your arms, feel the connection of your arms to the heart space (hrdya marma/heart acupressure point) at the centre and sides of the sternum.
Feel the opening in the sinus area, particularly the point at the side of each nostril on the medial side of the cheekbone. This is the region of the marma point called Phana. This marma is an important in enhancing the flow of Prana into the body and for the actions of respiration.
Hold steady at the area of the pubic bone (bhaga marma point) as this will root you into the ground. If the hips are tight, we may be tempted to try to pull the pubic bone off centre to get a greater angle of the knee (which comes out to the side (ish) in tree pose. Don't be tempted to do this. Notice where your bent knee is (how high off of the ground) when you are in Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose). If it is quite far, your knee will not go at a right angle in tree pose either. Making it do so will lose the earthing effect (apana vayu) that is so important when taking the Pranic shape of the tree!
Use the pose to breathe. Think of the energy of the tree in a cooling breeze, rooting into the earth. Use this image to increase your strength of confidence, standing tall as you face life’s challenges with grace and ease.
Just before you breathe in, imagine that all your problems have disappeared......... and then breathe in.
As you breathe out, direct the energy to the pubic bone, the sides of the nostrils and the heart chakra. Repeat this cycle of energy in and energy out for 10 secs - 1 minute or 5-10 breaths or several minutes. Unwind the pose and take a stretch and repeat on the other side.
Take rest (savasana).