Going to the Root of Tree Pose

In yoga, we often discuss and examine the chakras.  To provide a very simplified definition of the chakras, they are energy centres that reside within our bodies.  The root chakra, which is also referred to as the first chakra, physically includes our lower halves;  feet and legs.  It is where we derive much of our stability, steadiness, and grounding.  When we consider this chakra, different thoughts may arise.

Positively speaking, having a sturdy foundation is quite appealing.  Just as a tree is rooted and strong, so too is there a natural desire for us to have strong roots.  This allows us to be grounded and enables us to stand strong regardless of what may be going on around us.  The words ‘reliable’ and ‘consistent’ come to mind when we consider a person with a well developed root chakra.

However, as with many things, too much of a (good) thing isn’t always beneficial.  Consider the person with an over-developed root chakra, or in other words, too much grounded-ness. The visual you may arrive at is an individual who is overly rigid, very set in their ways, and maybe resistant to change.  Perhaps as you are even reading this, a person in your life pops into mind as an overly rooted friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance.  The very thing that allows this person to be rooted and reliable also creates an unnecessary hardness to them, which can lead to a different set of problems.

It may all come down to balance.

If we consider a typical yoga class, we are usually presented with a variety of different postures.  You may begin in a more relaxing centering pose just to become present.  Then the tone switches perhaps to some more active standing poses, possibly warrior 1, triangle pose, and some balance poses.  Usually the end of a class will be some deeper stretching and then final relaxation.  It would be rare to find a yoga class where all you were presented with were standing postures (often tagged as root chakra poses) for the complete one hour, and there is a reason for this.  We need to find some balance in the session, otherwise we may create tension in the practitioners.  An entire class in which we activated the root chakra would likely create a situation where some yogis would be left with an over fired root chakra;  leaving the class overly rigid and without some balance. The aim in yoga is to find this balance by offering different “shapes” and experiences to the body, so we leave feeling that balance and equilibrium.

Many of us are able to flag ourselves as (I will call it) “strongly rooted,’ in that we know we may have a well developed root chakra, With this awareness, we need to be able to  recognize and know our tendencies and how we can avoid leaning too far towards these roots.  Sure we may love our warrior poses and our utkatasana, but maybe exploring some hip openers and twists may help us to find some harmony between roots (strength) and softness (flexibility).   This is where we consider a tree…..

Beginning with the roots which are buried deep within the ground, they provide the tree with a strong foundation allowing it to remain  planted.  Then we move up to the trunk, steady and strong and for the most part immoveable.  But as we continue our exploration further up the tree we see the branches and the leaves – here is where the tree has its softness, its flexibility.  The branches move with the wind, flowing and bringing a soft note to the tree.  To me, the tree is perfectly balanced;  it has a strong foundation enabling it to weather most storms, yet it also has enough of a softer nature allowing it to go with the flow of the breeze.  If we could transfer the characteristics of a tree to ourselves what a lovely visual it brings.  We find ourselves steady and strong, able to handle whatever comes our way;  but at the same time we can go with the flow, find spontaneity and throw caution to the wind.  In my opinion, these very different characteristics are equally important.

As the holiday season draws nearer and nearer, perhaps keeping this “tree” analogy in our minds may be helpful. Regardless of what is going on around us, perhaps chaos, perhaps confusion and most certainly busy-ness, always remember to keep our grounded-ness;  this will certainly allow us to weather any storm that may come our ways.  However, never losing sight of being able to move like the wind, go with the flow, and accept whatever may come our ways.

Accept your current position rooted to the Earth, yet remain open to the possibilities beyond you.


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