Arbor Day is celebrated in different countries in different times of the year…
… but here in the U.S. it’s the last Friday in April.
It’s pretty simple: you go out and plant a tree.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this, other than today’s pose is a better tree pose. To wit:
1. Get into a standard tree (vrkshasana) pose: Right foot high on the inside of your left thigh, right knee pointing straight out to the right, back long, left leg firm, and arms extended overhead to prolong the sense of extention of the spine. To make your balance easier, look toward the floor.
2. Interlace your fingers and bring your hands to the back of your head. Begin to shift your gaze farther away from you on the floor, perhaps to the opposite wall.
3. Run your gaze up the wall till you’re looking up at an angle toward the ceiling. Your head at this point should be slightly tilted back, your chest open, your shoulders semi-relaxed. Stay for six long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Increases your balance relative to the standard tree pose. Opens up your diaphragm for better breathing and better spine extension. Gives you a cool pose for pondering great philosophical questions.
Avoid if: Either one of your knees hurts while in this pose. Also, if you can’t just get the balance, try setting yourself up a few inches (centimeters) from a wall and supporting yourself back against it.
Final thoughts: I propose that Better-Vrkshasana Day be the last Thursday in April, to help you get in tree-planting mood for the next day. And to get the full appreciation for trees, I propose that Hammock Day be the last Saturday in April. Don’t try this on the trees you just planted; if you don’t have mature trees nearby, grab two yogis, get them in Better Tree Pose and hang the hammock from their back-leaning heads.