Tree Pose at Satya Yoga Center Rhinebeck

Focus of the Month

September: Tree Pose/Hidden Connections/Balance

 

This is one of my favorite asanas, Vrksasana, the tree pose. It is simple and majestic, like many trees in our world today, and as a balancing pose, it requires connection and focus to accomplish.

Trees are the embodiment of interdependence; if you look at roadside embankments, because the rain has washed away the soil, you will see how trees connect with each other through their root systems. According to Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, trees exchange nutrients and help each other out as a rule! If you find this interesting and want to know how they do it, read Wohlleben’s fascinating book where he makes the case for the forest as a social network, and describes how trees are like human families.

How do we humans connect with each other and support each other in times of need? How can we care for the weak among us? I believe that tree pose, done in a group, can illuminate the answers to these questions. First, we must establish a connection to our own body and breath and a deep connection of the standing leg to the earth, to achieve balance. Then we can begin to reach out through our breath, to others around us and establish connections, the unseen support and energy of the group. By breathing together, we can give lightness and steadiness to our pose.

We can increase the challenge of tree pose by closing our eyes, raising the arms, leaning to the side, or even arching backwards. It can be fun to embed tree pose into other poses like side plank, infinity pose, handstand, downward dog, and upward dog!

As we move from summer to autumn, this pose can assist with our transition by encouraging us to root deeply to the earth, pay attention to our focus, and breathe with awareness in support of the collective stability.

Sondra Loring