The benefits and Mythology
The natural world is full of beautiful wonders. Trees are one example of the stunning capabilities of Mother Nature. Trees bridge two elements, earth and air. They are deeply rooted in the ground but they rise upward and skyward. They also have contact with the two other elements, wind and fire. Fire is also known as the sun which fills them with light and nourishment. In Office Yoga® when we practice Vrksasana or tree pose, we allow the pose to fuel our bodies and souls. We root ourselves into the ground with our feet and grow upwards with our bodies and limbs. Vrksasana puts us deeply in touch with ourselves in a reflective yet grounding way.
In Office Yoga® we practice Tree Pose because it is an asana which radiates prana or life force. Office Yoga® incorporates this pose often because it offers many metaphysical and physical benefits. It helps individuals reground, recenter and refocus. Likewise, it can be done in any setting and modified to meet anyone’s needs no matter how long or short one has been practicing yoga. Plus, it can be performed in an environment with limited space. Trees are an incredible life force, like humans. Trees can endure tremendous turmoil; wind, snow, hurricanes, and earthquakes, while remaining rooted and stable. We can learn a lot from trees!
In order to fully understand and reap the benefits of a posture it is important to understand where postures come from. Vrksasana has a rich and meaningful mythology which enhances the depth of the pose.
The story of Vrksasana is a story of reunion. This reunion supports the beauty and bounty of the posture. Here is the tale of Vrksasana: the evil demon King Ravana kidnapped queen Sita. Sita was married to Rama (The seventh avatar of the god Vishnu) and she was deeply devoted to him. Ravana’s guards attempted to use psychological torture to turn Sita’s heart but she would not give up on Rama. Rama would find her; Sita was sure of this. Sita was imprisoned outside of the palace itself but inside the walls protecting it from the outside world. In this area was a grove of Ashoka trees. Ashoka means ‘without sorrow.’ The Ashoka Trees are symbols of love. Sita spent her days sitting under these trees. She would sit with her back against the trees focusing all her attention and breath on Rama and asking him to come to her rescue. Sita whispered to the Ashoka trees, please bring Rama to me. She would breath slowly and intentionally in her pursuit of Rama. She sat very still.
Sita’s mother was Devi, the Earth itself, and she was rooted in the kinship of the trees. The trees spoke back to Sita, they told her to stay still like them and remain faithful and hopeful. So she waited patiently for Rama’s arrival. Eventually Rama found her and killed the evil King.
From this story came the position of Vrksasana, a graceful, patient posture of balance and focus. In life, being able to practice patience is crucial, whether we are working with challenging people, raising children, or riding public transportation, our patience is constantly tested. Tree pose helps us channel a meditative state off the mat as well as on the mat. Plus, tree pose has a magnitude of health benefits.
- Stand next to your desk with both feet on the ground.
- Draw your left knee into your chest with your hands and slide your left foot to your inner thigh (or calf).
- Energetically press your foot and thigh into each other.
- Option to keep your hands at heart or overhead.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and change sides.
Vrksasana improves our balance and strengthens our legs. It creates more strength in the ligaments and tendons of our feet and legs. It creates musculature in the buttocks. Tree pose assists in creating pelvic stability while strengthening the bones in the hips and the legs because it is a weight bearing position.
There are psychological benefits as well. As mentioned earlier it helps us stay more balanced in our lives by teaching us stillness and patience. Our modern society does not carve out much space for intense inner focus like tree pose does, so we greatly need it. Furthermore, this inner focus builds self-confidence and self-esteem, allowing us to be prepared for a diverse number of situations. Standing tall and still like a tree is powerful and it can stabilize us in this crazy world of ours. So come join us in Office Yoga® and practice Vrksasana or take a few minutes to practice at home.
Start Office Yoga® classes today! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for class options and scheduling. Namaste!