I love observing yoga in real life. In this beautiful rooted reclining pose, Suzi finds the perfect balance between stability and ease. A combination of Reclining Warrior III and Reclining Tree, this pose gives Suzi a sense of safety and repose.
Supta Vrksasana (Reclining Tree Pose): Not just about Balance
My friend Suzi, pictured here, climbs this tree every day on her walk in the magnificent hills surrounding her home in Israel’s beautiful Ella Valley.
If Suzi would be standing on the mat, she would have one leg rooting firmly into the ground and the other foot resting on its thigh. Here, the tree is rooting for her (no pun intended!) in addition to her own firmly planted right foot. Her left foot is propped up by the tree at hip height. Thanks to her fully supported back body, the feedback from the tree, and her angled relationship to gravity she can relax and open her full front body to the light.
In this open position she is sending her brain signals of safety and rest.
When I asked Suzi if we would be doing a yoga practice after our walk, she said that the walk is a yoga practice. Now I know why. Finding the right balance between stability and ease is key to getting our central nervous system out of fight, flight or freeze mode. It is one of the goals of a yoga practice. When we feel supported, we can be at ease. When we are rooted, we can rise to greater and greater heights.
Benefits of Tree Pose
Root to Rise is one of the pairings of oppositional forces that makes a yoga practice so interesting. In root to rise, we connect ourselves deeply to the supporting surface. Tree pose is the perfect vehicle to imagine ourselves rooting. Through that root system, we draw energy from our feet and our legs, our trunks, up the length of our spine and out our arms, our branches.
Like a tree, when our base is firmly planted, we enjoy lift in our upper bodies and ease in our upper extremities. Easing the mind follows naturally. The more deeply rooted we are, the more ease we experience as our upper bodies open to the light above us.