The Tree: Stella Tomlinson, Dru yoga teacher in Southampton
Here I am, practising the Tree in front of a lovely, huge, old tree in the grounds of my apartment block

How you get on with particular yoga postures can tell you a lot about yourself. Your yoga practice can tell you how your body, mind and emotions are today – if you’re willing to listen!

The Tree (Vrksasana) is an archetypal yoga posture – one which is often used in pictures and logos representing yoga.

It’s also a balance and this group of postures will reflect back to you your state of mind as you practise them.

For example, if you practise Tree with a busy mind, your thoughts elsewhere, you’re very likely to wobble all over the place and not feel balanced and steady.

However if you consciously steady yourself physically, emotionally and mentally before you begin to practise, and during the posture, you are more likely to achieve a steady balance in the pose.

Tips to help in this posture

Before you begin the Tree, spend a few moments focusing your awareness on the contact between your feet and the ground beneath you.

Visualize roots going down from your feet into the earth below you – start to become the tree you’re about to embody. Stand tall and feel strong and steady.

As you raise and place your foot for the balance and raise your arms in the air, contract the gluteal muscles of the standing leg to give you balance; also contracting the core muscles will help you to feel steady.

When your hands are in praying hands position above your head, pressing the palms quite strongly together can help you to balance.

See yourself as the tree – strongly rooted in the ground beneath you while your arms, your branches, stretch up to the sky above.

How my experience has changed

I practise the Dru Tree, which keeps the posture flowing rather than holding it statically. Since learning this version of the posture, I’ve found I’ve connected with it much more as I focus my awareness on how I can embody the qualities of the tree, and in doing so, I find my focus and clarity increases.

Consider the trees…

Trees aren’t static – they grow, they move in the breeze, they change with the seasons; they drop their leaves and sprout again each spring in an annual cycle.

Yet there is a permanence, strength and majesty to them. Their roots are strong and spread wide while their branches are adaptable to the conditions around them. They can live for hundreds of years.  They are self-sufficient yet give shelter and sustenance to other life forms.

They adapt yet they retain their true essence.

We can learn a lot from trees!

I particularly love to practise the Tree in autumn as you can visualize embodying trees at this time of year – letting go of things which you no longer need, as the trees do in dropping their leaves ready to conserve their energy for winter.  

What’s your experience of practising the Tree?

Read more about the Dru Tree

Here’s a video which begins with the Dru flowing Tree:

Other posts in my ‘Listen to your body in…’ series

Stella Tomlinson teaches Dru yoga in Southampton, UK. Dru yoga is a flowing and therapeutic style of yoga, characterised by graceful movements, directed breathing, relaxation techniques and working with affirmations and visualisations. Connect with Stella via Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to your body in … Tree
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