Pose of the Month July:
Tiger in the tree
Imagine being the tiger relaxing in the tree.
After the gentle opening of the front of the body, last month with mountain brook, we’ll switch to opening the back body in Tiger in the tree, the yin version of childspose. Also a very nice pose to restore in, if you can make yourself comfortable. For some people, especially with discomfort around the knees, getting comfortable in this pose can be a challenge, but I think it’s worth it. You might need many more props and a bit more creativity that I show in the picture below. Just imagine the relaxed and lazy look of a tiger resting in a tree and figure out how to become the tiger :).
How to practice
Tiger in the tree:
Sit on your lower legs with knees apart and big toes together. If this is uncomfortable for your knees, there are several options. You can place blankets/meditation pillow etc, below your seat to release the pressure around the knees to a height that is comfortable. You can also place a tightly folded towel or yogastrap behind your knees to create some space around the kneejoint. If there’s discomfort around the ankles, use a small rolled up towel below your ankles to decrease the stretch.
Place your bolster (or 2-3 stacked blankets) lengthwise between your knees. You can also add 1 or 2 folded blankets on top of the bolster and over your upperlegs, up to the fold of your hips. This way the belly will be fully supported when you fold forward towards a wide kneed supported childspose aka tiger in the tree. The blanket(s) can also help to decrease any strain around the hips. If you have your seat elevated, you can also place 2 bolsters and /or blankets to create a height where your head is at about equal height as your hips.
Be comfortable and enjoy!
Make sure that all the support is high enough so that you can totally relax. Then you can fold forward and arrive in the pose. If you’d like you can place eyepillows on your (lower)back, to help you bring your awareness there during the practice.
If you don’t manage to find a comfortable position you can practice sleeping dog. In sleeping dog you also are face down supported, but without bent legs.
Allow the body to yield into the support and bring your attention towards your breath. Notice the movement. The front of the body expanding, pressing into the support and the back of the body expanding as you inhale. The softening of the body as you exhale. Stay in the pose for 5-20 minutes. Make sure that you turn you head to face the opposite direction halfway through the time in the pose. Keep your chin in towards your chest as you turn your head, to make sure that the neck stays long. Notice the movement of the spine as you breathe. The movement from the tailbone all the way up to head. Feel the differences between each breath.
When the time has come to get out of the pose, slowly push yourself up, with support of your hands, to a seated position. Take a few breaths to experience the change of the form of your body and the effect on the breath. Continue with your day.
If you enjoy these kinds of practices, check out my online self-guided journeys. I’ve recorded The Art of Not-Doing restorative packs for you. With these packs you can chose which 20 min restorative practice you want to practice. It also included separate audios with a different guidance once you’re in the pose, to vary the practice.
You can find them here in the shop.