Today we have a special guest blog.
Vriksasana (Tree Pose)
Guest blog by Katia Grodecki, yoga teacher and creative director, Dharma Wanderlust
Vriksasana, tree pose, is a beautiful, powerful balance pose that allows us to find strength within by rooting down into the earth, activating the root charka, muladhara. Tree pose also gives us an opportunity to cultivate a strong focus in our yoga practice and translate it into our daily lives, by focusing our gaze on one steady point, without allowing our attention to waver.
1. Come into the pose by lifting all ten toes, spreading them to the best of your ability, and pressing them back down into the yoga mat. Feel the feet rooting down firmly into the mat. Breathe into the sensation as you stand taller, lifting the pelvic floor (the mula bandha, our connection to the earth energy) and the lower belly (uddiyana bandha). Lift the breastbone toward the ceiling as you soften the shoulders away from one another, feeling expansion through the upper back.
2. Find one steady point at which to gaze, a couple of feet in front of you, on the floor. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, pick up your right foot and externally rotate the right hip. Keep the hips level.
3. Inhale and find a spot on which to rest your right food – on the floor beside your left ankle, on the left shin below the knee, or on the inner left thigh, above the knee.
4. Exhale and either keep the right hand on the wall beside you, bringing the left hand to your heart, or bring both hands together at the heart centre. Keep the shoulders relaxed. Continue to root the left food firmly down into the matt as you squeeze the left leg and the right foot toward one another. Continue to lift through the bandhas.
5. Continue to breathe and if you wish to challenge your balance, take your gaze up toward the wall in front of you, or perhaps even toward the ceiling. Feel free to also extend both arms up, spinning the pinkie fingers in toward the midline as you bring the heads of the arm bones up, back and away from the ears, and then gently soften the shoulders.
If you wish to challenge your focus here, notice what happens as you allow your attention to waver away from the present moment. Continue to keep the muscles and your attention active, and return back into the graceful presence of your practice.
6. Stay in the pose for 5-8 full, even breaths. To come out, bring the hands to your hips and slowly release the right foot down to the matt. Move the hips from side to side and stand evenly on both feet to find your balance once again.
7. Repeat on the other side.
Day 18 challenge:
Thank you to Katia for the wonderful guest blog post today. The tree pose is actually more difficult than it looks but it feels great when you are in posture and focused on the moment. Every time we do it, we feel a bit more rooted and stable. Was your balance tested at all? Where did you rest your foot? Share with us in the comment box below.
All participants’ names will be entered in our 30 days of yoga with hipS-sister draw Oct. 1st.