I want to be ..... a tree
As all my yoga students know within every yoga class I LOVE to add a few balance postures throughout the practice. I intentionally do this to encourage them to test their capabilities and help them improve balance, focus and most importantly PATIENCE.
Today we are going to specifically be looking at tree pose (one of my favourite balance postures). We will look at a few variations of this pose in order to encourage the COMPLETE BEGINNER to roll out the mat and give it a try and also to demonstrate that every yoga posture has a starting point. You should always begin at a level that is comfortable for you until you feel ready to progress. Always allow yourself the time to build trust in your bodies ability and when or if you want to tackle the more advanced tree posture you can do so with 100% confidence.
So before we begin here is my Yogi Top Tip
YOGI TOP TIP:
Busy minds and balance postures don't go hand in hand. Your focus and stability will reflect the state of your mind. If your mind is busy and thoughts are running all over the place then expect this to be mirrored in your balance postures.
Rather than feeling frustrated use this as a time to focus the mind, make peace with how you are feeling and accept that wibble and wobbles are all part of the process. Let it be a fantastic opportunity to play with balance mindfully, exploring how you are getting on both physically and mentally.
5 reasons for why you tree pose could improve your life:
1. Strength, Patience and Balance: This posture offers a simple and effective way to build body awareness, strength, stability, balance and focus. Ideally finding this on the yoga mat will filter through to help you find patience and balance in your everyday life.
2. Hip Hip Hooray: Most people are tight at the hips due to sitting frequently whether that be at work, in the car or on the sofa. Unfortunately when our hips get tight this can cause problems for the pelvis and reproductive system. However in Tree pose we focus on opening out one hip at a time. Thus improving flexibility at the hips and creating more freedom around the pelvis.
3. From kids to senior citizens: Tree posture is a great pose to practice at any stage of life however I do specifically recommend this posture for kids as it helps them to improve their focus, core strength and body awareness. Also as we get older the muscles in our body inevitably deteriorate and we must actively work on challenging the strength in our legs especially around the ankles and knees. If the legs are strong and healthy this will minimise falls and back breaks.
4. Healing: Tree pose can easily be modified to challenge the complete beginner to the more seasoned yogi. However It is also a great pose for anyone recovering from injuries as it can help in healing the hips, knees and ankles; it can also be included in therapy sessions where students have a migraine, unstable blood pressure or for pregnant women and trauma survivors.
I want you to grow and build confidence in your yoga practice no matter what your starting ability is!
As we explore Tree Pose variations I want you to remember that progression is a very important part of your yoga journey in order to help you grow within your practice. Always listen to your body and only do what feels good for you and only progress to a more demanding posture when your mind and body are ready. I want you to grow and build confidence in your yoga practice no matter what your starting ability levels are. After all 'yoga is for everyBODY'
So lets take a look at the video below demonstrating a few variations of tree pose starting at the basic beginner level before we gradually progress to a more challenging peak tree pose (Half Lotus Tree Pose). When practicing at home you can hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, about three to eight breaths. With practice, you might work up to a minute on each side.
Tree Pose Variations:
Beginner variation 1: Start by holding onto a chair and lift one foot a little from the ground.
Beginner Variation 2: keep the lifted foot below the knee and practice free standing without holding onto the chair.
Beginner Variation 3: hold onto a chair. Lift the raised leg to the inside of the inner thigh. Raise your hand to the sky.
Beginner Variation 4 : keep the foot high to the inner thigh and hold onto the wall. Maybe just with your finger tips touching the wall.
Intermediate Variation: Free standing tree pose - foot is lifted high to the inner thigh with hands in prayer position reaching for the sky.
Intermediate Variation:half bound lotus tree pose - use a yoga strap to guide the lifted foot on to the top of the thigh. Ideally pointing the knee to the floor.
Advanced Variation: Half lotus tree pose - foot resting on top of the thigh with hands in prayer to the heart centre.
Remember to practice mindfully and enjoy the process. It is called a YOGA PRACTICE so just strive for progress NOT perfection. Each time you step onto the mat treat it as a new experience, connect with how your mind and body are feeling within that very moment.
Take the time to explore, take the time to connect and take the time to progress when you are ready.
PRACTICE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
If you would like more yoga as part of your everyday life then please feel free to visit our ONLINE YOGA STUDIO and practice in your own time and in the comfort of your own surroundings.
We created the online Yoga studio to invite you to take some well deserved time out, for you to reconnect with the simple pleasures of breathing and moving providing you with some much deserved respite from the outside world as well as benefiting from improving your physical and mental strength, focus and flexibility.
So on this final note, let Tree pose help you embrace that as you ground down into the earth finding support from below you can then confidently stand tall and reach the sky as you rise up into a strong, healthy magnificent tree!
Nicky & Angela