Yoga for Balance, by Dean of Students Katie Payson

The first trimester of my pregnancy occurred from March – May and I had debilitating morning sickness that confined me to my bed each day after I crawled home from work. All I could do those few months was gaze wearily at the old maple tree outside my bedroom window. And I found that this time of forced slowing down allowed me to experience the great privilege of watching, noticing and taking into my heart the slow beautiful birth of buds followed by the “leafing out” of that ageless maple tree. I will forever be grateful to that opportunity to look closely and see the beginning of leafy life renewed in March, the month of the spring equinox.

So, with the spirit of budding trees and balanced light – I offer you the following yoga pose: The Tree Pose. 

  • Begin by standing with your arms at your sides (Mountain Pose).

  • Distribute your weight evenly across both feet. 

  • Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right ankle.

  • Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it.

  • Adjust your position so the center of your pelvis is directly over your left foot. Then, adjust your hips so your right hip and left hip are aligned.

  • Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum.

  • Fix your gaze gently on one, unmoving point in front of you. Remember to breathe.

  • Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky.

  • Rotate your palms inward to face each other. If your shoulders are more flexible, you can press your palms together in prayer position, overhead.

  • Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.