I have a lot of favorite poses, if you take my class you know which ones they are because they make repeat appearances throughout a sequence. Pyramid pose and supported warrior 3 come up a lot. But at the top of the list of favorites is tree pose, Vrksasana in Sanskrit. Because in the pose you are grounding down to rise up, I’ve always thought of it as the ultimate power pose.
You start by getting really intentional about grounding down through that supporting leg. Then you fire up your core. And finally you raise those arms up like life is yours for the taking! It sounds like the perfect recipe for life: get grounded, get a fire in your belly, and then GO FOR IT!
Here are my cues for tree pose, it’s one of those poses you can break out absolutely anywhere.
1. Ground down through the supporting leg. Press down through the ball and heel of the supporting foot. Lift the toes, lift the arch, lower the toes back down. Fire up that supporting leg, lift the knees, engage the quads. Take the time to set up in a very intentional way.
2. Fire up your core. Engaging your core is that tensing up of the stomach that happens at the beginning of a laugh. Or what you would do if automatically if you were about to get a punch to the belly, whichever analogy works best for you.
3. Transition to the Balance. Take the sole of the other foot that’s not grounded above or below the knee. For modifications: you can keep the toes on the ground and “kick-stand” the heel to the ankle of the grounded foot, or you can do this with your back against the wall as a support, or with a hand supported by a chair.
4. Make it a Power Pose. Starting with hands at heart center, come into your breath: long deep inhales like you are gathering the air from your heels and transferring it up through your body to the crown of your head, and then long slow exhales like you are releasing all that air out of the crown of your head. Find one place to fix your gaze and when you are ready, bring arms to overhead. Spread the fingers, bring to your mind your intention, and make it powerful!