Tree Pose, or Vrksasana, is one of my favorite poses. It is simple, yet challenging. If you look at a tree it is strong, stable, and rooted. As the world spins around it; wind blowing through its leaves and branches, rain or snow falling down, it stays balanced, strong and fluid yet steadfast. By practicing Vrksasana, especially during this time of year when we have a lot going on around us, we too can draw into our centers, root down and find the stillness and balance within.
I invite you to bring the quality of Steadfastness into your practice and life this month. Steadfastness literally means adhering firmly and devotedly to something. You become fastened to something, you become established in it. Steadfastness implies that you are dedicated, intent and faithful, that you are unswerving, unflinching, and undistracted.
“Attaining steadfastness in this fleeting world is no ordinary matter: it is an invaluable blessing. When this steadfastness, this true determination, arises from deep within, you discover a center of strength and stability within yourself. It enables you to withstand the pressures and fluctuations of the outer world. The strongest wind cannot overturn such a mountain of steadfastness.” Courage and Contentment, Guyumayi Chidvilasananda.
What does steadfastness mean to you? During the holidays, over the next month how can you bring this into practice in your own life? What are you committed to for yourself? For me I am committed to my health, listening to my heart, loving and putting my family first, enjoying the moments that really matter, and to my yoga practice.
“Tree pose gives a beautiful upward stretch and sense of balance.”Yoga the Iyengar Way, Silca, Mira & Shyam Mehta
1. Stand in Tadasana Mountain Pose, close your eyes and breath from your heart. Connect to your steadfastness, your inner pillar, your strength, your sweetness. Bring your weight into your left foot. As you root down into your left foot also lengthen and stretch up through the crown of your head. Bend the right leg out to the side. You can begin by just resting the right heel on the inner left ankle. If you can move deeper place your foot to your left calf, or grab the ankle and place your foot to your left inner thigh. Draw your right knee back so that it is in line with your left leg. Press your foot into your leg and leg into your foot. Pull the front ribs in to engage your core and stretch the waist and heart up.
2. Place your hands, palms together, at the center of your heart. Reconnect to your center, your steadfastness, strength, and courage. If moving on you can extend your arms over your head keeping the palms together or out stretching the arms. Extend both sides of your body. Breath evenly and balance for 20-30 seconds. With an exhalation, bring the arms and leg down.
*For and extra challenge you can try closing your eyes in the pose.
I will leave you with a script from the ancient Sama Veda, which says:
“O courageous one, who strives after the expansive life, go forward, face oppositions, overcome obstacles. Your inner force is unassailable. You will certainly attain prosperity. Slay your ignorance with your strength. Have mastery over all your actions!”
Practice Tree pose, practice steadfastness. Each time you look at your christmas tree this month, think about your own inner strength, think about what you are committed and dedicated to. Through this practice you are sure to stay calm, grounded, and centered allowing you to be fully PRESENT in each moment. I can’t think of a better GIFT.
Love & Namaste