Be more tree

Vrksasana, tree pose.

Vrksasana, tree pose.

"Human beings depend on trees quite as much as on rivers and the sea. Our intimate relationship with trees is physical as well as cultural and spiritual: literally an exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen." - Roger Deakin, Wildwood.

I've long been fascinated by trees, their longevity as much as their vulnerability, their inherent capability of withstanding and enduring through all weather, war and urbanisation. They exist between the Earth and the sky, roots in the soil, extending upwards towards the elements, reaching out for the sun, standing firm, twisting and bending as their survival requires.

To adopt the form of a tree then - Vrksasana - is to attempt to embody that same strength and to channel that same determination in the face of adversity. Finding the balance required is, as with most yoga postures, mentally and physically demanding. One foot planted firmly on the ground, the human anatomical root finding stability in an unstable connection, while continuing to breathe, inviting in the energy and air required to expand and lift up tall and strong.

One foot planted firmly on the ground, the human anatomical root finding stability in an unstable connection, while continuing to breathe, inviting in the energy and air required to expand and lift up tall and strong. It's a challenge that takes time and patience - practice, essentially.

That in itself is a test of your willingness to try again when you stumble, continue when your mind tells you that you can't, and concentrate entirely on aligning the whole of yourself, from toe to crown. And sometimes a little support, courtesy of a wall, or, if you're able to practice outdoors, a tree itself, whose structural integrity might, through an energetic process of osmosis, provide some assistance. At the very least, to be more tree is to recognise and work with our weaknesses as a place from which to grow, and in doing so, realise how inimitably majestic trees are. Always worth a hug.

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