March 20th marks the Spring Equinox, when the day and the night are equally long, the mid-point between the Midwinter and Midsummer Solstices. It marks a moment of balance before we shift into a new season of growth: spring. Just as the rain we have been experiencing provides nutrients for the plants as they root down into the earth to grow, there is also an opportunity for us to connect with the earth and the new growth cycle that lies ahead, a time of birth and re-birth and upward moving energy.

By practicing Tree Pose (Vrksasana) in yoga, we can explore the sensation of expansion and upward movement and practice putting our trust in the support of the earth.

1. Begin by standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Explore the sense of balance by shifting your weight from one leg to the other and then coming back to center, connecting with the central axis of the spine and feeling the support of the ground as it comes up to see the feet. Close your eyes and visualize rooting down into the earth for support, all four corners of each foot pressing down.

2. Shift your weight over to your left foot and root down into this leg, without collapsing out through the hip. Bend the right knee and bring the sole of the right foot to your left shin or inner thigh (avoid the knee to protect the knee joint). As you do this, notice the tendency of the right hip to move out of alignment and see if you can draw the right hip forwards so both hips point straight ahead, as you press the right knee out to the side in line with the hip.

3. Bring your awareness to your standing leg and focus on rooting down through your left foot and left leg. Bring your gaze 45 degrees in front of you on the floor to keep your gaze steady. Slowly start to bring the sense of expansion and growth into the pose as you lengthen through the spine and press out through the crown of the head.

4. When you feel that you are completely supported through the left leg, expand your energy up through the arms and you raise your arms overhead, keeping the shoulders relaxed and the gaze steady on the floor.

5. Whenever you’re ready to come out, slowly release the arms back down, bring your hand to your right knee and draw your knee in front of you as you lower the right foot down to the ground. Shake both arms and legs out to release any tension. Pause and practice this again on the other side, this time shifting your weight over onto your right foot and placing the sole of the left foot onto the right shin or inner thigh.