Understanding Tree Pose


I sit behind a computer for 8 hours a day. I bet you do too.

Yesterday, I stopped typing and cracked my back. When I stood up, my shoulder cracked. As I moved to the break room, my ankle cracked. What was sitting in this posture doing to my bones? Or was more than just the computer to blame?

For the past few weeks I’ve been going through a rough time. Instead of expressing it, I’ve been carrying it around with me in my shoulders, in my back, and in other parts of my body. 

So when I decided to do yoga last night, I knew it was something my body desperately needed. But what I didn’t realize was how much my mind needed it.

Think Like a Tree

I’ve always admired trees. There is something so calming about their strong, sturdy branches and how their delicate leaves move with the breeze.

In yoga, tree pose, or vrksasana, is designed to make you think and feel like a tree. As Yoga Journal explains, ” Vrksasana (Tree Pose) requires a sense of rootedness and centering down through your core. If you attempt to balance on your right leg with no sense of your midline, your weight will fall on the outer leg and outer foot, and the inner edge of your foot will lift. Before you know it, you will fall to the right like a felled tree.”

Yesterday I stood at the top of my mat and thought about my spine. What had I been doing so wrong to make my back feel like this? And then I thought about the spine, or the “backbone.” When you allow others to take advantage of you, it is also known as having, “no backbone.” When you don’t stand up for yourself, you are called “spine-less.” Those creatures without a backbone are easily crushed.

But if you stand up tall. If you stay strong. If you rebuild your backbone. Maybe, just maybe, you will no longer be the victim.So I stood in tree pose, and although I wobbled at first, and although I felt shaky, I stood tall like a tree. First with my right leg and then with my left. I felt my spine reach down to the earth like the roots of a tree. And I felt my fingertips reach up to the heavens like the leaves in the wind. And I felt completely at peace and at one with who I was. I understood that my back pain had little to do with the computer. And much more to do with my mind.

The Benefits to Tree Pose

According to CNY Healing Arts there are many health benefits from tree pose:

• Improves balance and stability in the legs
• On a metaphysical level, helps one to achieve balance in other aspects of life
• Strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet
• Strengthens and tones the entire standing leg, up to the buttocks
• Assists the body in establishing pelvic stability
• Strengthen the bones of the hips and legs due to the weight-bearing nature of the pose
• Builds self-confidence and esteem

I challenge you to stand in tree pose today. Just to see how it feels. And veterbrae by veterbrae, rebuild your spine.

For you are not spineless. You are tall and strong. You are connected to the earth, but you reach out to the sky. Just like a tree.

As originally posted on Sookton’s Space

Photograph copyright @ Michele Falzone

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