Monday, March 29, 2010

Tree pose for a windy day

I must confess to something I really don't like about our home in Montana: wind, like I've never experienced wind before. Wind that has torn windows off their frames, that howls like a forlorn animal all night long, that has broken my nose in an unfortunate incident with our trash can (it blew the lid into my face). I've been trying to read up on my doshas, pitta/vata, because I am convinced it is something about my vata side that gets so agitated by wind. Anyhow, this windy day is a great opportunity for a grounding one-pose wonder - vrksasana, tree pose. Trees blow and sway in the wind, but stay rooted at the same time; a reminder to be strong yet flexible.

Tree pose is just what we need in times of transition, like during a change in season (that would be now). Balance poses require that you really be in the moment - if you are not completely mindful you will fall. Having a crazy day? Take a time out for tree pose. It will stop your mind from racing, soothe your nervous system and ground you in the present.

The How-to:
  • Stand in mountain pose and gaze softly at a fixed point in front of you on the floor, about 4 or 5 feet away.
  • Shift your weight to the left foot and bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and grab your right ankle.
  • Draw your right foot up and place the sole as high up on the inner left thigh as possible (NOT on the knee joint! big no-no!); press the right heel into the thigh, toes pointing toward the floor. Firmly press your right foot into the inner thigh, and the thigh back into your foot, working to equalize the pressure.
  • Press your hands together at your heart center. Maintain your drishti (gazing point). If you fall out of the pose at any point, 'cause trees fall sometimes, slowly and deliberately go through the process again.
  • Leave your hands at heart center, or grow your tree by reaching them up overhead.
  • Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Return to mountain pose and repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
I'm actually surprised I haven't featured this one-pose wonder yet. Any requests for the next one?


louloulovesbooks said...

I, too have an aversion to the wind. It makes me feel unsettled. I love the tree pose so this is a great tutorial. I like the detail you give about pressing the foot into the thigh and the thigh into the foot. That makes so much sense. I would love a tutorial from you on Navasana. But, only if you feel like it...I have just got into it and am hoping to improve it. {*}

Jessica C said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on warrior I and/or II. Its just one of those poses that I'm not confident or comfortable doing so I find myself avoiding it!

Margaret Burns Vap said...

OK navasana is next!
Jessica: check out my latest yoga tutorial on athleta chi that details warrior I and II - but we'll also work on it this summer for sure!

Jessica C said...

The tutoiral on athleta chi was perfect! Just what I needed for guidance, plus more! Thank you, looking forward to owning my warrior pose!

Barbara said...

Ah, the wind. Helena has been really windy lately, too. Yuck.

Emma said...

this is lovely. would you mind if i link to this post from my blog?



Margaret Burns Vap said...

link away emma! :)

The Boyfriend Shopper said...

I've just began taking Yoga classes and I love it.

I'm loving your blog. Feel free to check out mine, I think you'd especially enjoy it: