I will often visualize a tree sometimes its a tree from the thick forest of Washington, sometimes its a tree from the dry desert in Moab. Visualizing the tree I think about some qualities that I admire so much at that I want to embody more in my life. Today visualizing a tree the qualities that come to mind are:
The principles of emphasis are:
- Muscle energy: from the four corners of the feet drawing up to the hips firming all sides of the legs. In tree pose you cultivate muscle energy by first engaging the standing leg, feeling the strength of the leg with the sole of the bent leg foot, then press firmly the foot into the thigh and the thigh into the foot. I love all these tree variations because it really makes you figure out how to press your foot and inner thigh together so it doesn't slip down.
- Expanding Spiral: spiraling from the inner heal around the legs and draw the inner thighs in, back and wide. In tree after creating that firm pressure of foot into inner thigh and thigh pressing into foot, use the foot to draw the inner thigh toward the back of the room. You might notice the butt sticks out and you get a in and up curve in your lover back.
- Contracting Spiral/ Organic Energy: from the hips scope the tail bone and root down through the feet. In tree after broadening the inner thighs toward the back of the room scope your tail bone and root down first through your standing leg and then from your hips out through the bent knee widening it toward the direction it is pointing. Sometimes when I am widening the knee I will find my hips twisting in that direction. This is a no no it will tweak and damage my standing knee over time so watch that there is no twist in your hips.
Plank with legs in tree - DD with tree variation - Bridget's cross
Mod. parsvakonasana - ardha chandrasana
Low lunge quad - parsvakonasana - ardha chandra chapasana
Eka pada rajakapotasana
Sphnx with tree variation. The tree will cause a deeper back bend in your low back so work that contracting spiral and scope your tail bone down powerfully causing a lift in the low belly to protect the low back.
Ardha padmasana in Tadasana, super active muscles in your legs and feet. Floint your foot and make sure it doesnt sickle. I rarely teach this pose because students seem to sacrifice the alignment in order to get in the general shape of the pose and I want to look out for the knees. If your foot is sickeling do tree.
Utthita padangustasana A- B- A
Prasarita padottanasana twist
Septu bandhasana with legs in tree variation
Supta baddha konasana