The BYC Family
Being A Tree - by Céleste Needham - yoga teacher, creator, builder
Ten miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge stands a natural cathedral. California’s Muir Wood Forest is home to the redwood cedar, the tallest tree species on the planet, some measuring 350 to 379ft in height. These coastal trees drink rain, expand when the sun shines and when the wind blows their branches, they sway and dance with the movement.
They accept what Mother Earth offers on a daily basis. The trees in this forest have stood for centuries, eleven to be exact. In that time, they have experienced multiple earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and war. Ninety percent of their species has been acquired by the forestry industry. They have endured time, the elements and conditions forced upon them. And still they continue to stand. Unwavering. Resolute. The teachings of yoga are inwardly focused and infused with symbolism from the natural world. How can we embody in the way we live our lives a fraction of the wisdom nature’s largest plant offers?
How often do we expend energy under the illusion that we have control or influence over our outer world? Does a tree try and stop the wind, compare itself to another tree or worry about the depth of its colour? For a tree to try and stop the wind – or expend any energy on externals – would be in discord to its relationship with something more far-reaching.
All of a tree’s energy is centralized and yet it also emanates outward. A tree concerns itself with its inner strength, and thus endures the tremendous forces that act upon it with dignified and majestic indifference.
The vastness of a tree parallels our human ability to also expand. There’s nothing complicated about imitating nature. It’s designed to be accessible, the divine keeps it simple.
For thousands of years, cultures and civilizations have observed cedar trees with deep reverence for their healing power, connecting people with higher planes of existence. Egyptians even believed that cedar trees were gifts from the gods.
Science has proven that a walk in the forest decreases stress, balances hormone levels, regulates our heart rate and boosts our immune system. It calms our anger, lightens our depression, nourishes our energy and changes our outlook. The healing and empowering qualities of trees are available to anyone willing to take a walk in the woods or in a park.
A tree can become a trusted friend or an inspiration to anyone willing to listen to the years of ancient wisdom they have to share. A tree’s natural state comes from innate knowing: it moves with universal pulsation, as we are called to do when undergoing our own personal tsunamis, fires and battles. In the moments of greatest challenge we too can emulate a tree: root ourselves and stand strong as the winds blow.
Deeply rooted to the earth from a place of true quiet, learn to live from the inside out allowing your branches to show you the way.
Why the struggle? Be a tree.