Monday, November 15, 2010

Tree practice

This weekend I was in the Berkshires and spent most of my time hiking.  I love getting out of the city and going to the mountains where it's quieter and slower.  I can feel my body shift as I spend more of my time walking on soil than concrete; it grounds me.  NYC on the other hand is such an easy place to become ungrounded.  I often find myself feeling stressed and nervous from the frenzy of the city (sound familiar anyone?).  When this happens I use balancing poses to connect me back to my feet.  Just having the experience of standing on a bare foot is pretty profound for people who spend most of their time in shoes.  Try the tree practice for yourself and notice how it makes you feel.

Tree Pose Practice:

1. Shift your weight to one foot and bring the other foot up to the inside of the leg (above or below the knee).  Make sure you don't lock the standing knee.  Bring the hands to prayer position or overhead.

2. Reach up through the top of your head and look out across the horizon.

3. Focus on your breath.

The point is not to be still.  Instead try to limit the movement to the feet and gradually refine those tiny adjustments that keep the body in balance.

Stay for as long as you comfortably can.   For a more challenging variation try closing your eyes!

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