Balance is something we’re always working towards, whether it’s balancing work with play, exercise with relaxation, the elements of our diet, or the dynamics in our relationships. Too much of one thing might tip us over, and not enough of another can make us feel deprived. The benefits of Tree Pose include helping not only our physical balance but our mental balance as well, since it requires a certain amount of concentration. You’ll find that if you start thinking about your to-do list while in this pose, or an argument you just had with someone, you’re more likely to wobble! It is amazing to observe the impact that the activity of the mind has on the body. This pose is also fantastic for strengthening the muscles of the feet and ankles, the knees and legs, and in improving overall posture.
First, stand with your feet and ankles together, feet straight. Ground your soles and toes firmly into the floor. Keep the arms loose at the sides, relax the shoulders, and inhale as you lift the chest and upper back. Shift your weight onto your left foot and, with the help of your right hand, bring the right sole flat against the left leg, either above or below the knee. You can begin doing this pose by standing just enough away from a wall so that you can touch it with the end of your finger. A light touch is all you need to control your balance. Practice removing your finger from the wall for a few seconds, increasing the time with each practice.
If you’re doing the pose away from the wall, you can either put your hands with palms together overhead, or simply place your palms together at the chest. Stand tall, lengthening through the tailbone, lift the head, and connect your gaze to a point directly in front of you. Imagining yourself as a tree with roots coming out of your soles can actually help you to keep stable. Breathe nice and slow. When you’ve had enough, exhale and repeat on the other side.
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Respect yourself, explore yourself.