Day: January 23, 2009

Finding Tree Pose inside Mountain Pose — rajah yoga — ecopsychology, the forest, the human heart — materia medica …

It is interesting for me when a foreign word pops up behind the scenes in my blog. Today there were two of them. The one from Russia was nature or “природа” and the one from Greece was “ΧΙΡΟΣΙΜΑ ΖΩΓΡΑΦΙΚΗ” which meant Hiroshima Painting. I used this translator in the web at

For a therapist thinking of the deeper ecology of world soul, you realize that all people of the human tribe are pretty much concerned with the same things all across the globe. At the base is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Every time. It really is and you can apply this to all HUMAN cultures in the world.

In the last 25 years science has ruled the world. But often the scientist’s focus is on specific problems and solving them. Their focus must be that narrow and exacting in order to solve complex problems.

One problem I see, looking as I do from my own field is that people are disconnected from the earth, and from nature at the second millenium. We do have global overpopulation. We do have global warming. We do have people who cannot understand these things because they aren’t looking up from whatever tasks are at hand.

The world was simpler in the 1970’s. People lived closer and in harmony with the earth itself. Could we reverse the model? I think so. Global Warming is the greatest problem the globe faces right now. The whole globe has to make a shift and right now we have that chance. When you think of trees as a representation of the deep feminine, and you see what is happening to the trees — this is where Hillman’s concept of “dis-ease” fits. The LAT had this, this morning:

West’s trees dying faster as temperatures rise

This film, one of the greats of all time addresses where we are going if we don’t stop.

It seems to me, that an audience is able to learn more from a film like this than the one Al Gore made — because the characters in this film present the same issue — only through the lens of the human heart.

So, we watch Bruce Dern and what he does to save the forest.

He has to reprogram the robots.

Since the 70’s all we have had is an onslaught of robotic thinking to the point where even metaphor is lost in our language.

This film should be shown in tandem with “What the Bleep” and then a discussion could ensue about the reality of all of this.

That is one of the best things about the movies — as a teaching device for the masses.

So we did Mountain Pose a few days back. There is a way to take Mountain into Tree, at least a beginning version of that — and I’ll walk you through it with a visualization. My musician friend Flyingsong has something very beautiful up today that can be a prelude to the pose:

Perfect Day–O World I cannot Hold Thee Close Enough–Edna St. Vincent Millay

You will hear a beautiful song and also read a poem at that link above.

Finding Tree Pose, from Mountain Pose…

Take a moment to find Mountain Pose.

Stand barefoot or in shoes and have your feet hip distance apart. If you feel unsteady, you can use a wall to support you. Just stand with your back against an empty wall. Feel yourself stretching taller as you roll your shoulders back in slow circles. Feel your spine start to drop into alignment. At the crown of your head is the sky, and at the roots of your feet is the earth.

Take a breath, and exhale slowly through the mouth. Rest your right hand gently against your belly.

Feel the belly expand as you breathe, and then contract, like a balloon. Take a moment to listen to the sound of your own quiet breathing. Breathe in a color that feels good to you. It can be any color. When you exhale, breathe something stale out. Feel it leaving you, forever.

Ask yourself what you would like the breath to carry into your life.

Breathe with that as an intention.

Now, imagine that your body is like a tree trunk. Strong and sturdy on the mountain. Your arms are the tree’s branches. Lift the branches and sway your arms in an imaginary breeze. Only move as much as you can. The rule of yoga is never to force anything, and never to feel pain in movement.

Imagine that your feet are the roots growing deep into the ground. Feel that the whole earth supports you.

Use your mind to see the roots as they develop and grow.

If it feels comfortable you can move away from the wall, and begin to dance your tree.

Dance with the branches your arms unfold. Imagine the wind, and the leaves, and the forest creatures who might take refuge in you — as a tree.

As you move your arms just feel the air against your skin and notice the temperature.

Keep breathing as you move, listening to your own breath like a wind as it swirls inside you.

Imagine yourself as your favorite tree, now.

What is that tree known for?

See it in your mind’s eye.

Just as we did mountain pose, the first finding of tree in this way allows the yogin to move quietly into a second posture.

Find your way back to the wall now.

Settle yourself against it, and replay your experience of tree back through your mind as you breathe quietly.

Close your eyes, and see the tree again that is your totem.

If the tree wanted to tell you something, what might it say?

Give yourself a moment of time to breathe into the space you just created for yourself…