Vrksasana as a teacher

Trees have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of a tree friend is that of a fragrant one outside my childhood church. At home in Pune, the many banyan trees are familiar witnesses on early morning runs. Here, in Canada, the maples, birches and oaks are new and delightful. I’ve just seen a small part of one season and the march of time as the trees shed their colours is one that makes me muse. 

I miss my family, home and routine. I also miss attending classes and the thought provoking words of my teachers. Today’s practice was standing asanas and vrksasana became an asana for contemplation. What does it mean to assume the form of a tree? What is its symbolism? What is the intelligence of the tree? 

In the asana, the standing leg is firm on the floor while the arms reach up for the skies. Very much like a tree. It stands firm through storm and calm, supports an ecosystem of little creatures and bigger ones. The strength of this vibrant being lies unseen beneath the ground. Little roots, big roots, a web of roots and the life that teems between them make a solid foundation on which a host of beings thrive over the ground. Aren’t our lives meant to be like that? Balanced, grounded and of service while reaching for the sun, the source of all that lives. The tree keeps growing, maturing in its girth even as its full height is reached. Is it not like Guruji’s sadhana? 

Vrksasana is often ignored while I practise and used more as a prep to parsvakonasana or virbhadrasana 2. It was humbling to see how much a simple asana could teach me. In my execution, there is glaring assymetry, yet I don’t consider it as part of a regular practice. Instead, I want to get a fix on Chaturangadandasana. No harm in that but the basics are the roots, if I want to be a tree.

Image from Yoga in Action -Preliminary Course

Hari Om

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