Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2010. november 10., szerda

Asana focus No. 3: Vrksasana

At first sight, the name of this asana sounds like a tongue twister, but once we translate it from Sanskrit it becomes one of the simplest asana names: tree pose.

It’s nice and easy, and as the Latin said, “Nomen est omen”, the name is a sign. The asana itself is a simple posture, although it serves as a powerful preparation for more complicated balancing poses. It also improves your concentration skills. But let us see the photographic demonstration and then many things will become clear.

You can do it with hands in Namaste in front of the chest, or above the head with palms pressing. The previous version works more your pectoral muscles (pectoralis major), and version two exercises, likewise parvatasana, the muscles of the shoulder, the scapular muscles. So again, you decide which version you need more in your current physical condition.

By looking at the picture, you might have already noticed the areas of focus of Vrksasana: the legs, the opening of the hip, work on the arms and the back, although the main point is on the balancing and concentration. When I teach, I tell my students to focus on the three lines of force. The first one is connecting the soles and the top of the head, the second lies between the uplifted knee and the opposite side of the ribcage and the third is coming out from the eye representing your will power.

But how shall we get into this pose?

First, take your weight on the left leg and slowly start lifting the right. Place your right heel into the left groin or if that is too hard, you can also place it above or under the knee, just avoid putting pressure on the extended knee. Concentrate on an unmoving target and find your balance in this position. It helps, if you gently push your hip to the front and pull the knees to the back. But to achieve this movement focus on the opening of the hip and do not force anything. Focus on the opening, as if you gave place to something new to come in. Then slowly lift up the arms by the side as you exhale and bring them into Namaste at the chest, or together above the head. Hold it for a while and when finished, to avoid knee injuries, come out from the pose with control by grabbing the ankle with the hand.

It is important that you constantly pour your attention to your focal point and avoid blinking. The longer you can resist the distracting urge to blink, the more powerful this exercise will become. This heightened concentration naturally occurs when you are extremely attentive. This is exactly the mechanism that this asana uses, by artificially creating a situation of intensive focusing. In the end, this is how it trains your concentration skills. It is amazing to see in this pose the direct interaction between physical body and the mind. Watch that if your mind is wandering too much you will be almost incapable of performing the tree pose.

It will also be difficult for you, especially while being a beginner, to practice in a packed yoga class with many others wobbling in front of you. Just note, that you also need to get used to this, since trees are also social creatures, they live in a forest, but obviously to see others shaking in the “wind” is very distracting. Not to mention that you have to control your own quaking. The name of the asana is superb, tree pose. Be like a wise tree: flexible in stability. Rigid trees are torn out by the storm, and those without a firm root system will also fail to stand firm.

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