Since we have been in Coronavirus confinement, I, like so many others, have been running a lot! At first,
when I was feeling quite anxious about the situation and how to make the right decisions for my family, I felt like I was running to save my life. I couldn’t go quickly enough. I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs, as if the impending lockdown was going to suck all of the oxygen ou
t of me! Then, once we were settled into a house in France where we could get out into nature, and I had managed to create a routine for the kids and our family, my pre-yoga, morning runs changed; they became more about spending time in my body and with nature than survival.
Early in the morning, it’s dead quiet where we are, aside from the birds waking up, or the slight rustling of leaves along the pavement. And as I run my usual morning route through the domaine, I take time to feel my breath in my body and to look at the trees. I have not lived in nature like this for a while, and I am continually in awe of how beautiful the trees are here; how each one is so different - blooming with spring flowers, or dripping with multicolored leaves of all shapes and sizes.
When we mimic a tree and take tree pose (Vrksasana in Sanskrit) in yoga, we strengthen and tone our groin and leg muscles, as well as our ankles and feet. Just as a tree reacts to the seasons, to light and rain, while in the pose, we respond to the subtle changes within our bodies, refining and rebalancing with every breath we take. As we root down through our standing foot, engage with our inner thigh, and lengthen our tailbone towards the earth, we mimic the roots and trunk of a tree - rooted, stable, steady.
And as we lift our sternum bone and arms towards the sky, we grow our branches and find our freedom and ease in the pose. Each breath is a chance for us to explore stillness and to feel rooted in our present situation, but to keep reaching towards the stars as well. In uncertain times like these, Tree Pose can reminded us of the foundation of our own character while inspiring us to keep rising, to keep dreaming.