The Tree Pose

Inspired by Alison Hartman’s book Hatha Yoga and The Five Elements 

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

Lift and stretch the toes to engage the four points of the foot (inner and outer toe mounds, inner and outer heel).  Engage muscle energy in the legs by drawing earth energy up through the feet. 

Gently tuck your tailbone, lengthen up through the side body, roll the shoulders up back and down, chin is parallel to the floor and ears over your shoulders.                    

Pick a focal point in front of you for balance.                                      

Begin to shift your weight onto your right foot. Imagine sending roots down into the earth. Slowly raise the left leg, bending at the knee and placing the footsole on the inside of the right ankle, calf, or thigh.                                   

If you are having trouble balancing take notice of your hips. Often times the left hip will lift higher than the right hip creating an uncentered effect, and the balance is lost.                          

Keep the hips level as you lengthen through the side body and raise your arms above the head placing the palms together.                                 Remember to breathe and keep your focal point.                                       

Exhale and slowly lower your arms and leg.  Change legs and repeat.

A tree is rooted to the earth and at the same time has an upward moving direction; this is why the tree represents the Wood element.  Rootedness shows us the balance, while the upward movements express vision and purpose.  According to the ancient Taoists, man/woman stands between Heaven and Earth, connected to both. In Vrikshasana, the legs extend downward to ground us in the Earth while the arms extend towards the Heavens; this dual extension allows the body to come into balance. The Wood element governs vision and our sense of focus.  By maintaining a focal point we create inner equilibrium that can be called upon when moving in life through varied situations.