Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blowin' in the Wind with Vrksasana (Tree Pose)


Image compliments of http://muselan.typepad.com/studieswithlaura... as well as the idea for this post.

I did a little run through of this pose in my dining room waiting for a friend to come over. The windows are open and a strong storm and accompanying wind are whistling and whipping about outside. It was a great experience. Coming up into the pose I'm reminded of this little quirk I have in this pose - I love having my foot on skin above the knee on the inside of the leg (rather than placing my foot on pants.) It increases my feeling of stability.

I haven't practiced this version of this posture for a while, because I do the Bikram style pose in class most often, with sole of the foot facing the ceiling instead. It's been a while since I settled into tree pose! Picking up to balance first on my right leg, I felt what I feel so often in my balancing postures. A small foot weaving back and forth on the floor, between keeping the big toe down firmly, and being pulled out to the outer edge of the foot due to strong external rotation in my hips. In the Bikram studio, this sensation doesn't seem to correlate to anything besides... well, balancing - but in the dining room with the storm whipping around outside, I actually felt myself as a tree blowing in the wind.

With arms in front of chest in prayer, I got my legs strong, inner thigh firm. Then worked on lifting the rib cage up to avoid collapsing into the hips. I stretched the cervical spine up and relaxed the chin. As I do this frequently in my Bikram practice, it seems like a tiny release of the neck, a slight tuck of the chin, and I can feel the cervical spine extension. It's like gaining an inch. That's huge when it comes to spine lengthening!

Arms go up and the drama begins. As I move calmly into this expression of the pose, my abdomen and core muscles naturally firm to help me balance. Now THIS must really be what a tree feels like swaying in the wind! So much more length, so much more to control. I marvel at the fact that my core muscles were pretty relaxed in the first phase of the pose (arms down).

Resting between legs, I feel the inevitable, "That was fun! Other side! Other side! and the ego enters the conversation wondering if I'll be able to do it "as well" on the other side (read: not fall out). Standing with legs together I'm much more tuned into the natural weight shifts that go on in standing. I connect with the tree in the wind feeling, but feel much more rooted.

I captured most of my sensory experience with the first side. Though my second side was different of course, not much more to report. What I noticed is that my left foot, which I've nursed back from an injury that's lasted years, tends to grip more with the toes for balance. Consciously relaxing that tendency allows me to press the ball of the big toe down into the floor, increasing balance. I really felt the energy increase as the arms went up, then loved that settling-back-in yummy, comfortable feeling of bringing the arms back down to the chest.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

YAY for tree pose. One of my favorites!