Vriksasana, Tree Pose, is a one-legged balancing posture that has endless variations and modifications as either a solitary tree or a forest, with arms as branches that wave in the wind or remain calm at your heart center. The benefits of practicing this posture create strength in the thighs, calves, ankles, spine and feet. To begin, shift your weight to one foot and notice how the standing foot is a solid foundation with all four corners of the foot connecting to the earth. Allow the toes to relax. The lifted leg finds a comfortable place, resting gently upon the standing leg either above or below the knee while simultaneously lifting through the trunk and ribcage. Hands are pressed firmly together at the heart center, widening the elbows and allowing the chest to open from the inside as we gaze forward, or challenge this great tree by closing the eyes. Then there is the real tree pose KAY style!
This year all five members of my family officially became involved in the Cub Scouts. As I signed up to lead my youngest son I felt confident that with my KAY teacher training I would be able to guide the boys in our den, teaching them all the skills they will need to be karma yogis. Every KAY teacher leaves their training excited about building their box/bag of tricks. Like the motto says, we do our best to be prepared. Family is the most important influence on a person’s development. The KAY Family is global. The live training was exactly what I needed to smooth my edges and balance out my 200 hour Yoga Alliance teacher training. You can even host a training. My oldest son is a Webelo and will be crossing over this year. My husband leads the Bears for our middle son, and I lead the Tiger Cubs. As a family we really enjoy the way scouting encourages families to turn off technology and tune into nature.
The Scouting program evolved from the BSA, which was established sometime in the 1930’s. Cub Scouting focuses on boys in the first through fifth grades introducing them to solid foundations. Many of the Cub Scout traditions come from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The boys always want to listen to Jogging through the Jungle after we say the pledge and practice our oaths. They really love to hear short stories about brave warriors on boats that see lots of fish or heroes that climb tall mountains and sell lots of popcorn. I have to admit I love it just as much.
The Scouts Outdoor code states:
As an American, I will do my best to –
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.
As a student of Yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas are always present in my heart and mind. These are the 10 qualities that guide us to our true nature. They embody moral and ethical characteristics as well as inviting inner peace so that we may live in harmony with the world around us. As I study for the new role of den mother I cannot help but reflect on many similar themes allowing us to inspire the character development of these boys.
So the next time you’re outside in your yard or hiking with friends grab onto a branch and go out on a limb, that is, of course, where the fruit is, and land in your favorite variation of Vriksasana.