Who doesn’t love trees?
They humbly provide us with oxygen, decorate the loveliest skylines, offer the occasional fruit, perfume the air with fresh sweet scents . . .
Best of all, they remind us of how important it is to be rooted – ever reaching for the stars (unless it’s a weeping willow, in which case, it’s kinda over the whole ‘stars’ thing, and much prefers gettin’ back to the ground!).
Around the World in 30 Asanas, Stop 1: Redwood City
The first real stop after the UAE was Redwood City, California, where my friends Christi and Darren are raising their newborn son Kenji. Their new family life is set to the backdrop of green sprawling park spaces and huge bodies of water, all under the invigorating west coast sunshine. It’s never too hot or too cold in this area, so BBQs, outdoor exercise and amazing flora and fauna abound.
Inspired by all our tall woody friends, I decided tree pose was the only choice for the Redwood City asana. After spending so much time with Kenji, Christi and Darren, their warmth and patience became contagious. I felt part of their family, and really relished in the comforting stability of it all (not to mention all the yummy food!).
When coming into Vrksasana, it’s the same kind of vibe. We ground the standing leg deep into the earth, energize our the ‘trunk,’ imagining a nurturing presence moving up from the bottoms of our feet up to the tops of our heads.
With eyes closed, you explore the subtleties of alignment and challenges of balance. I chose Anjali mudra for my hands, a deeply respectful hand position, enabling feelings of peace and quietude.
But if you choose to expand the arms and reach the fingers up toward the sky, the pose completely changes feeling. The chest/heart opens and the arms are free to stretch upward, giving you the sense of liberation and growth.
Some of the benefits of Vrksasana:
- Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
- Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
- Improves sense of balance
- Relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet
- Low blood pressure
- High blood pressure: Don’t raise arms overhead