Trees – real and in yoga

It’s National Tree Week here in the UK, from 26th Nov to 4th Dec, so now is an excellent time to plant a tree in your garden, or buy someone a tree for them to plant, or donate to charities who plant trees in the UK such as Trees For Life (who are restoring Scotland’s ancient Caledonian forest), or other countries such as Tree Aid who work with local partners in various African countries. Or if you’re in the UK there might be a tree event near you, if you look at the Tree Council’s map of events.

Tree avenue

Path at my parents’ house

Trees are hugely important for biodiversity, wildlife, habitats, food sources for humans and animals, human health, and of course, the health of the planet through storing carbon and breathing out oxygen. They provide shelter and shade, resources, and also just looking at them or being near them can make us feel better or improve our health. They can be hideaways for people, or a playground for animals.

Cat walking down tree branch

My cat climbing

 

vrksasana-at-utlt

Me and lime tree, France

 

Of course, the yoga connection is through the well-known tree pose (vrkasana) which has many modifications and variations to suit all levels of ability and interest. If you practise this pose this week, try adding a ‘tree meditation’ at the same time: think of your favourite tree and imagine being there; picture the tree, its size and shape, the colours during different seasons; imagine hugging the tree and the feel of its bark; ponder why you love the tree so much; and as you breath imagine you are the tree, your feet connecting with the earth, your arms and head reaching up to the sky. Eventually draw your mind back to your physical body, re-connect with the foot on the floor (and remember to repeat on the second leg to maintain balance in the body).

 

 

 

Other ways you can support trees is through using Ecosia search engine which plants trees using money generated through its advertising revenue, or, get involved with a new Tree Charter in the UK which will be launched in November 2017 and which is seeking people’s stories about what trees and woods mean to people, 800 years after the first Charter of the Forest in England. The “Charter for Trees, Woods and People will influence policy and practice and celebrate the role that trees and woods play in our lives.”  With over 50 partner organisations they want to create “A future in which the many benefits of trees and woods are understood, treasured and fully realised in all areas of society.” (They also have a very interesting timeline of trees in the UK, and pages in Welsh about the Siarter Coed i’r Werin.)

Roots at Trembyd, Powys

Roots at Trembyd, Powys

Petrified ancient forest remains at Borth, Wales

Petrified ancient forest remains at Borth, Wales

Rowan tree

Rowan tree in Scotland

 

Sitting on bench carved in shape of pine cone

Me relaxing on a pine cone shaped tree bench, Elan Valley

{I could have posted loads more pictures but had to stop!}

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