Four Life Lessons Found in Trees
Wherever you are reading this, look outside. Chances are you can see a tree. Aside from the obvious benefits of trees - such as - they provide food and oxygen, have you ever considered all the life lessons found in trees? Other than the one time I was a kid and thought the great trees of Virginia were out to get me, I’ve always been inspired by what trees can teach us. Even in that moment, I learned that just because I can’t always see it, there is beauty in every situation. When I started practicing yoga on a regular basis, tree pose slowly started to reveal what some of these lessons are.
1. Trees Get Their Strength From Their Roots
Every tree sprouts from roots buried deep within the earth. Trees don’t get to pick where their roots are planted, but they rely on them to grow strong over the years. Just like people, we all have roots. The places we were born, the family who raised us, the experiences we’ve had, the challenges we’ve overcome. All of our roots shape who we are today. Roots are what give us vision, memories and the ability to change our path. Like branches, life goes in different directions but our roots always stay the same. We can't change our past, but we can get strength from our roots. When you’re wavering and not sure where your branches are growing, take a breath and remember what grounds you. You are rooted somewhere and you are strong. Rely on your roots. Just like in tree pose, sometimes our roots our own feet and toes. So dig in, tuck your tailbone and stand tall.
2. Trees Get Their Balance from Being Stable, Not Still
When I teach tree pose in my yoga class, I always encourage my students to think of trees outside. The way the leaves flutter even on the stillest days. The way the trunk bends when the wind picks up. The way the branches droop when they are covered in snow. People tend to look at balance as stillness, but balance is actually about being stable. By creating stability and room for movement, we can feel more balance in our yoga poses and in our life. We might even feel stronger when we are swaying a bit. Next time you want to feel more balanced, consider the way your life ebbs and flows. Instead of trying to create stillness, where can you create stability and allow yourself to adapt to movement.
3. Trees Reveal Their Beauty From Shedding Dead Weight
Trees are continuously shedding dead branches, leaves and bark. They have a built in way of revealing even more beauty by shedding dead weight. Whether it’s a change of seasons or a leaf that no longer serves the tree, they are always evolving and letting go of what they’ve outgrown. People can learn a lot from this. We have a habit of allowing dead weight to drag us down. We dull our beauty, inside and out, by allowing things that no longer serve us to stay on our branches. Imagine how your life could change if you made a decision to start shedding what is no longer needed so you can grow into something more beautiful. As we move into Spring today, consider at least one leaf that you can release from your branches to have a more prosperous season. With every fallen leaf, eventually comes a season of blooming.
4. Trees Don’t Give Up Trying to Grow
Have you ever seen a tree grow out of the sidewalk or straight through a structure? The one evergreen in a forest of redwoods? The lone palm tree a little too close to the ocean? These are some of my favorite trees. The trees that weren’t supposed to make it but persevered anyways. Their roots were planted and they were determined to grow through the life they were given. We can’t always control our roots or our circumstances. Sometimes we are dealt a tougher terrain than others. However, we can choose how we react to the situation and gain strength from the roots. We can decide to keep growing, to adapt and to be unique. Look at each situation as an opportunity to nurture yourself and never give up. Allow the circumstance to make you better, stronger and one of the most noticed trees on the block.
Now look back at the tree you spotted before reading this. Did you look at it a little differently? Please leave a comment below and share what about nature inspires you! Namaste.