Today’s Yoga Challenge – Tree Pose!
This is one of my favorite balancing poses. And, I often use it in my weekly classes, not just on my own. Like all yoga poses, there are a number of benefits from the Tree Pose.
If we were in class, I’d direct you to come first to the top of your mat. Start to focus on a point in front of you and keep your gaze there. Then, root your right foot into the ground. Literally feel your root stretch into the ground, firming your stance and keeping you centered. As your foot becomes part of the ground below you, bring your left toes in to your right ankle. Some days, this is as far as our balance will allow us to go. Right leg straight, left leg bent and just resting the toes on the ground at our ankle.
If your body allows you to go further, then you can bring that left foot up your right leg. Just please NEVER rest it right on your kneecap! If you have it in you today, you can bring your left foot all the way into your inner right thigh. Here, you’ll press your right leg against the left foot to keep your center. Your right leg, still strong and rooted. Your left foot pressing into your right leg (somewhere between your ankle and your thigh). Your gaze out in front of you. And, your chest open and your spine erect.
Depending on your balance – your arms can be in prayer at heart center; they can be in prayer high above your head; they can be outstretched to your sides; or, they can be outstretched reaching for the sun. I always tell my students to let their arms do whatever their balance needs them to do. And some days, that means letting them wave like branches in the breeze.
You can always stand near a wall for support, or even stand with your back against the wall. Or, to push your challenge further, you can try closing your eyes.
Why do I love Tree Pose? There’s probably some piece of me that loves it simply because it was one of the first balancing poses I knew. However, I also love it because it has a number of benefits…what are they? That’s a great question 🙂
*improve your posture and concentration
*strengthen your calves, ankles, thighs and spine
*stretch your thighs, groin, torso and shoulders
*tone your leg and abdominal muscles
*increase flexibility in your ankles, knees and hip joints
*and, it is a helpful remedy for flat feet, and is therapeutic for sciatica
Not a bad pose, eh? Just don’t forget, always do both sides!! But, in case you don’t believe me, I’m not the only one who likes all of these benefits. Have fun being a tree today!