I asked my fellow yoga teachers what their favourite yoga postures are, and both Lindsay and Frankie love the Tree pose (Vrksasana) most.
Here is what Lindsay Howarth says:
My favourite Asana is vrikshasana- Tree pose . I love the peace and tranquillity it instils within me as I focus on keeping my balance by connecting with my breath, slowing my breathing assists me to quieten my mind which allows me to balance. Inhaling I grow taller and feel my heart lifting towards the sky as I fill with joy, exhaling I ground down through my heels feeling stronger and centered as I connect with the earth which supports me. The benefits of Tree pose are It strengthens the legs, and opens the hips.It helps with balance and It improves alertness and concentration.
To practice this pose with me, begin in Tadasana with both feet grounded firmly on the earth standing tall with you arms by your side, palms facing forward. Close your eyes feel the connection between your feet and the earth, connect with your breath, breathe smooth inhalations and smooth long exhalations, see if you can lengthen your exhalations. Place your hands on your hips and slowly start to shift the weight on to the right leg. Stay connected with your breathing and slowly start to lift the left foot, place the foot by your ankle on your right leg on on your right calf. Breathing here lifting your heart towards the sky as you inhale, releasing your shoulders away from your ears as you exhale. Continue to breathe smoothly as you focus on balancing and growing tall. Gently pressing the left foot into the right calf , checking that your hips are level and not sinking to one side. Inhaling lifting your heart filling with joy and exhaling knowing that the joy you feel comes from within. Once you feel comfortable with your foot against your calf you could see how it feels to take the foot to the thigh taking care not to place to foot on the knee. To come out of the posture slowly lift your foot off your leg and place gently on the earth. Repeat the practice on the opposite leg. Thank you for practicing with me today. Lindsay xx
And this is what our yoga teacher Francesca Cleary shares with us:
This is one of my favourite yoga poses. Being a gardener the tree is a symbol of growth, beauty, strength and interconnectedness. It was also one of the poses that I researched during my yoga teacher training and it was then I first read about the beautiful Indian mythology behind the pose. Where the demon King Ravana kidnapped Queen Sita and brought her to Lanka and held her hostage. It was here she found solace amongst a grove of Ashoka trees, symbols of love and healing. Trees are patient creatures and they silently spoke to Sita, telling her to be calm and steady like them. Seasons change, this captivity is not forever, stay still and remember Rama. And one day, Sita heard her name called softly from above it was Hanuman who brought her message from Rama – her true love. I love the way Sita draws strength and comfort from nature and the trees. When I was in India I was overjoyed to find Ashoka trees and sit with my back against a tree and sense it’s history and profound calmness.. Francesca xx