Find Your Roots
To find your balance in Tree Pose, plant deep roots.
Steady body, calm mind
Vrksasana can bring a wonderful sense of inner peace. It teaches you how to be both strong and supple, to be rooted without being rigid. A tree must be able to sway in the wind—or risk having its branches or trunk snap—so the key is to feel rooted in your feet. If you're unsteady in the pose, start from the ground up and make sure your toes are relaxed and long, the sole of your foot is pressed evenly into the floor, and the muscles of your standing leg are engaged.
It's always important to leave your ego at the door when you practice yoga, so don't be too proud to practice Vrksasana near a wall if it helps. As with all postures, it's essential to let go of your ambition about how you think you should be in the pose and accept where you are as fully as possible. Be aware that your balance and flexibility can change from day to day, depending on what you ate, how you slept, and a host of other variables. So don't assume you'll glide effortlessly into the pose just because you've done it before. Tuning in to the subtle changes in your body, mind, and spirit will teach you how to stay in the present moment. Be playful and patient, use props if you need them, and if you fall, try again. With time, practice, and patience, you will make progress.
Carol Krucoff is a registered yoga teacher and journalist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
She is the coauthor, with her husband, Mitchell Krucoff, M.D., of Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve, and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise; see www.healingmoves.com.
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