Tree workshop 17 February 2008 notes

Tree is a meditative pose, soothing and quietening. We can get frustrated if we happen to be having a bad balance day, but that’s O.K. To allow ourselves ups and downs, good ’n’ bad days, happy fulfilment ‘n’ flat despondency, success ‘n’ flop with the same constant kind eye of understanding and accepting, then we are in Yoga. It’s challenging of course, but what would life be without a challenge?

A story that still sticks in my memory every time I practice Vrksasana is one told to myself and two other Yoga friends in Verkala, southern India. A 'Yoga Master' there told us of a teacher of his who meditated in Vrksasana for so long he disappeared. I haven’t disappeared as yet, but I do appreciate the meditive quality of the posture. It’s grounding and centring, yet equally expansive.

Vrksasana

Anatomic Focus - thighs
Theraputic Application - sciatica
Benefits - Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine
Stretches groin and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
Improves sense of balance
Helps sciatica, reduces flat feet

Be careful - if you’re suffering headaches, insomnia, low blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure don’t raise your arms

Udhomukha Vrksasana

Anatomical Focus - brain, pituitary, arms, shoulders, legs, spine, lungs, wrists
Benefits - Stretches and tones belly, improves sense of balance, calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression

Be careful - if you have a back or neck problem, persistent headaches, heart condition, menstruation, high blood pressure

Practice

Important: Always alternate legs even if you have little success on one. Remember the balancing work of the opening NadI Shodhana Pranayama!

Otherwise you will ‘create an imbalance of the back muscles’ (Dona Holleman)

Try to avoid working to get the leg muscles and speed to get you up.

The pelvis is the heaviest part of the body and has to be pulled first by the back muscles, otherwise it will sag and collide with the lumber.

Connect the centre of the hands (hasta bandha) and centre the feet (pada bandha) so the entire body is then Connecting through the Bandhas and able to Elongate and defy gravity. (ref: Dancing the Body of Light)

To Follow

Jacqui’s notes:

Nadi Shodhana - Creating balance.

1. Purifying Shushumna Nadi 2. Balancing Ida (Chandra Moon, cool) & Pingala (Surya Sun, hot) 3. Calming the mind.

Variations in Adhomukha Vrksasana:

Hands narrower than shoulder helps develop sense of balance (for those who are able to go up lightly)

Hands turned outwards teaches the outer rotation of upper arms.

Keep the head in-between the arms. Flexing your head gives more curve in the upper thoracic spine, but makes it harder for the shoulders to elongate. With the head down there’s more freedom for the shoulder blades to slide the chest upwards, out of the shoulder joints

* Some people however:

Crown of head to wall and lift shoulders by pressing shoulder blades deeper into back.