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Pose of the Month- January Vrksasana (tree pose)

Pose of the Month – January – by Emma Després

Happy New Year!

With  2012 being the much famed ‘year of change’, I began 2013 believing it would be the year of creation, and indeed it was for so many of us.  The nature of creation does of course result in change – not least the destruction necessary to make the space for creation to take place – so 2013 has not necessarily been comfortable, despite the joy it may have brought to so many of us, a year of highs and lows therefore.

I feel that 2014 will bring a little more grounding, balance and peace as we continue to realise our potential and do what we can to serve and make the world a better place, remembering of course that this begins with ourselves – as Mahatma Gandhi so wisely said, “be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

It is all too easy to look to others to make the change, but we have to find the strength and courage to dig deep and go within, looking honestly at ourselves, at our actions and the effect this has on others and on the world as a whole – cause and effect.

This month, take time to practice the tree pose which, by its very nature, encourages us to stand still and focused, grounded and balanced.  In this way we may experience the clarity and strength necessary to take a good honest look at ourselves and our lives and let go of anything which no longer serves us and therefore making space for positive intentions for the New Year to take root instead.

Vrksasana (tree pose)

Benefits

  • Tones the legs and buttock muscles;
  • Reduces stress – it is virtually impossible to worry and remain balanced at the same time;
  • Steadies the nerves;
  • Calming;
  • Develops strength and stability in the feet and ankles;
  • Stabilises and strengthens both the superficial and deep hip muscles;
  • Increases overall body strength;
  • Opens chest and tones shoulder muscles;
  • Gives a sense of balance and poise;
  • Concentration is enhanced;
  • Equilibrium between left and right sides;
  • Grounding and heart opening.

Common mistakes

  • Attention is allowed to wander away from the point of focus, leading to loss of balance;
  • Feet are in the incorrect position to begin with – point them directly ahead;
  • Not pressing the foot firmly into the opposite thigh so that the foot slips;
  • Sticking the ribs out and losing energy, rather than lengthening through the waist and tail bone and engaging stomach muscles to ground down and lengthen up;
  • Allowing hips to fall off centre and therefore not encouraging external rotation through hips;
  • Lifting shoulders up towards ears, rather than drawing down;
  • Hands pressed together with little awareness – press little fingers together to encourage external rotation.

Contraindications

  • None.

Photography by Nick Despres, please see www.nickdespres.com

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