If you've been to the studio lately you might have had one of your teachers comment about a "pose of the month." Do you remember what the pose for December is? Allow me to give you a hint...
Oh Christmas ____, oh Christmas _____, how lovely are your branches.
That's right. It's tree pose. Tree pose is probably familiar to a lot of you yogis out there but, let's give it a little break down just for reminders sake.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
When we begin tree pose we plant both feet firmly into the floor and stand tall: spine straight, pelvis slightly tucked under, chest lifted and hands on our hips. Find something still in the room to gaze at. This is known as our drishti and helps us to balance. At first, start to shift your weight into one foot (we'll go with the left foot here). Come onto the toes of the right foot and rest the bottom of that foot against the left ankle. This may be where you stay. Take a breath or two. To move deeper into the pose, slowly slide the right foot along the inner side of the left leg. Stop anywhere between your ankle and your groin, except on your knee (let's try not to put extra pressure on that part of the body). Focus on rotating outward with the bent knee (in this case our the right knee). Keep rooting down through the left foot and tucking your pelvis under. Engage your bundhas/belly muscles. Your hands can remain on the hips, or move toward your chest with palms together OR stretch up toward the sky like growing branches. Breathe into the pose. If you feel like you're not quite ready to balance alone or you find yourself a little wobbly, just reach out for a yogi partner, a wall or a chair for support. We all can use a little support now and again. To come out of it, slowly lower your right foot next to the left. Release the arms and maybe take a nice standing forward fold.
Woohoo, you did it!
Taking it to the next level:
-try closing your eyes
-try side bending while in tree pose for an extra giggle factor.
-try taking the leg that is bent into half lotus and perhaps reaching around your back to grab hold of those toes that are close to the hip.
Tree pose does not have to take place in a tree. Although, I can tell you from experience that it's fun to try!
Happy tree posing y'all!