Happy, Health & Wise

Written by Cynthia Smith-Faught. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 18, 2010 with No Comments

Getting Grounded with Tree Pose

Summertime can often leave us feeling scattered from all of the high energy and activities of the season.  The few months of summer with so much to do — parties, festivals, vacations, visiting family and in such a short span of time — not to mention the intense heat — all of this activity might cause us to feel like we are spinning out of control.  Good, bad or indifferent, too much of anything can take us off our center.

Since the invention of the air conditioning (thank you inventor) we have more opportunities to cool off and start again, doing so much more. We no longer have the constant rhythm of summer in our bodies when we take things more slowly in movement or linger a little longer in our activities. In this age of air conditioning everywhere we go, we can now strive to do more, even during intense heat and the dog days of summer.

In yoga we find many postures that mimic the natural world. These poses allow us to find new energy when we make those connections.  When our world is too fast and our schedules are never-ending, we seek grounding. The surest and quickest way to ground ourselves is through “tree pose”. Tree pose not only grounds us, but also stabilizes us and brings us balance. The tree is our teacher of patience, resilience, calm and strength.  The tree is reaching deep into the earth with its roots absorbing the healing ground and waters for nourishment. The trunk is strong with protective bark, then the growing limbs and leaves reach into the sky. soaking up the sun and the air. The tree is a symbol of life and perseverance, and this is our pose for grounding when life is moving too fast.

Let’s Get Started!

Start by standing in mountain pose. This pose is standing up straight with feet hips width apart. Let the hands rest on the hips to gather balance from the start. Bring your weight to the left foot and lift your right foot to rest inside the left leg, either below or above the knee, with the heel pressing inside the inside of the leg.  Once you complete one side, you will do the same on the other.

Caution; never let your foot press weight into the knee itself.

If you are not able to lift the foot off the ground without wobbling too much, practice with your toes just touching the ground until you start establishing more balance. With time and practice, you will get better. When bringing your foot to the highest level inside the left thigh, you will need to use your right hand to position the foot properly. When we start to wobble and waver, the left foot seeks to ground even more, just like the tree reaching deeper into the earth seeking nourishment.  We then reach up through the spine, and the crown of the head lifts to the sky. Bring the hands to the heart with the palms together; we call this prayer pose. Then spread the arms up high and long, with fingers spread wide. Keep seeking the ground through your feet, but be careful not to scrunch your toes, the toes should be spread wide. The foot is the base and foundation of your pose, and stability is found in the connection of the four points of the foot. To find the four points in the base of the foot, find the one below the big toe, another below the littlest toe and two points at the back of the heel. As you stand in your pose, keep in mind the right knee moves gently back behind you, and the right hip shifts forward. These are very subtle but important points as you progress in your pose. Now breathe deep and smile!

Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor.  She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. Health, Happy and Wise is a guide only for the general population.  Not all practice is good for everybody, so please consult with your health practitioner before engaging in physical movement and positions.  Having physical presence with a teacher is always best, but these instructions can offer a guide to the basic practice of yoga.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle staff.

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About Cynthia Smith-Faught

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. To contact Cynthia Smith-Faught email her at editorial@thechroniclenwi.com.

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