The myth behind tree pose
Nature is a great teacher to learn from. We human, with oversized ego can draw a lot from nature if we take the time to connect with it. We are not separate from it, on the contrary, we are part of it. Spending time reconnecting with nature becomes vital for our survival. Have you ever had the urge to escape in a forest, hiding in a mountain , loose yourself anywhere far from civilisation or simply walk on the beach to wind down, distress, relax and reconnect with yourself? Even though we spend our life connected to each other via facebook, iphones and other hype devices and apps, it seems that we have never been so far away from ourselves and others.
In the Indian myth of Sita, Lord Rama's wife, Ravana was able to kidnap her and hold her in captivity because for a moment she lost her focus, her meditative state and to some extent lost the connection with herself and Lord Rama. She find her way back to Rama as she found refuge in nature. Standing by an ashoka tree. By the way, ashoka means 'without sorrow' and symbolizes love. Daughter of the earth, Sita knows a strong connection with everything and anything rooted into the earth. During her time prisoner in Ravana's palace, Sita observed the qualities of trees as they are patient, grounded, stable and unshakable no matter what comes their way, always ready to face the changes of time, season and climates. Observing and absorbing these qualities is how she found her focus and how she reconnected to Rama so he could find her. Her concentrated mind, spread the name of Rama through the atmosphere. No mobile phone or internet connection there, but the natural wifi of the human mind.
Trees are also shelters protecting and supporting whoever needs it. The trees are a support to Sita during her rough time as they whisper to het to be patient and calm, the situation she is in isn't forever , even though unpleaseant. The support she had, allowed her to remain calm and patient, acknowledging the impermanence of the situation. Nothing is forever
Vrkasana or tree pose teaches patience and calm. As a leg balance, students go through a lot of frustrations and discouragement as they fall and stubble over this pose. If you take time observing a tree you'll notice that it is strongly rooted into the earth with branches reaching up to the sky. The stronger the roots are, the stronger the tree is. In Indian sacred literature, trees symbolize the universe and are considered organic links between God and the individual. Strong roots into the earth allows a tree to grow firm, stable and unshakable to withstand changes and turmoil. As we practice vrkasana we learn to establish strong roots into the earth by pressing the foot into the ground, connect with the center line of our bodies, lengthening through the spine to remain unshakable. Only with a sharp concentration you will be able to go pass the turmoil of your own mind, the frustrations and anger from falling over. Just like Sita found her liberation through concentration, so will you master the pose with ease and grace. You become your own shelter. In hard times always come back within yourself to reconnect and find that sense of peace regardless of the outside turmoil.
On a metaphorical level, Sita represents the mind, while her husband Rama is the cosmic soul. Ravana is the ego who separates the individual self from the universal consciousness. By loosing her focus in the Lord, she finds herself imprisoned . Just like we are prisoner of our own ego. If we bring back focus into our life we can see the machinations of our ego separating us from who we really are. Taking the time to realign physically, emotionally and mentally from deep within and open the door to unlimited connection with the whole .
Next time you feel challenged in tree pose remember Sita's journey and how she finally find freedom.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the practice!