• The Promise of Power Through Balance: Yoga’s Tree Pose, BAHIRANGA.COM, NOVEMBER 2016

    Posted in Articles by Eric Shaw


    Tree Pose; from a 7th century carving at Mahabalipuram, on India’s east coast, south of Chennai

    The yogis knew acts of balance built inner heat and mental focus–and one of the early ways they cultivated this was with Tree pose–known as Vrikshasana.  

    It is like the simpler practice of holding one or two arms in the air, called Urdhva Dhana, described in the very old scripture called The Maitri Upanishad from the 2nd Century.

    It says, “A King called Brhadratha . . . went out into the forest . . . embarking on the highest asceticism, he stood, arms held upward, gazing at the sun.”

    Yogis hold both Urdhva Dhana and Vrikshasana for shocking amounts of time.

    Brhadratha is said to have held Urdhva Dhana for one-thousand days—but the general prescription is to hold it for 12 years!

    Figure 1 shows another King, who’s name is a bit like “Brhadratha.”

    He’s called “Bhagiratha,” and his myth says he did Tree Pose for one thousand years to persuade the gods Brahma and Shiva to bring the Ganges River to Earth. (This was before the Ganges River existed on Earth!).

    Close to Bhagiratha, there’s a cat in Vrikshasana (figure 4).

    Scholars think he illustrates a familiar Indian fable about a cat pretending to be a peaceful yogi; he fools mice (seen at his feet) before eating them!


  • 2 Responses to "The Promise of Power Through Balance: Yoga’s Tree Pose, BAHIRANGA.COM, NOVEMBER 2016"

    1. Tracey November 25, 2016 02:25 am

      I love this article. This is very well written. You have truly enriched me with some excellent knowledge.

    2. Eric Shaw November 25, 2016 11:42 am

      Thanks for the props, Tracey. I am glad the article has served you. -Eric

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