Finding balance in our lives during the holidays is always a challenge. Shopping, Christmas cards, parties, meals to plan…or maybe you feel alone or sad or are missing someone dearly. Tree pose is an excellent way to find balance both physically and mentally and anyone can do it. It takes a fair amount of mental focus so for just a moment you forget all your worries and stress and bring your mind to neutral. No negative thoughts, no positive thoughts, you just sink into a neutral mind. This is when you can let go of all the chatter that is constantly going through your brain and just enjoy the present moment and reset.
- Stand in prayer pose and shift your weight slightly onto your left foot, keeping your inner foot and big toe ball mount planted on the floor.
- Draw your right foot up and place your heel against your inner left thigh above your knee joint and press your right heel into your inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor, as in figure 1. If you cannot place your right foot above your knee simply place it on your calf, below the knee joint, as in figure 3.
- The center of your pelvis should be directly over your left foot.
- Rest your hands on the top rim of your pelvis. Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position, with the top rim parallel to the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Firmly press your right foot sole against your inner thigh and resist with your outer left leg. Press your hands together in prayer and gaze softly at a fixed point in front of you. Once you have your balance, raise your arms up like the branches of a tree, as in figure 2.
- Hold for 5 long deep breaths or one minute.
- Repeat on other side.
- If your balance has not developed to the point you can stand on one foot easily, stand near a wall for support.
- To decrease the intensity simply leave your hands in a prayer position and place the tips of your toes of your lifted leg on the floor.
- To increase the intensity, look up toward the ceiling, look left, look right, tongue on the roof of your mouth.
- Improves posture and balance.
- Strengthens muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the thighs, knees, and ankles.
- Firms abdomen and buttocks.
- Relieves sciatica.
- Reduces flat feet.
- Provides stability in the body for exercises like walking and jogging.
- Provides mental focus and balance as the pose can be quite challenging leaving you with nothing to think about except not falling over.