Questions? Ask a Tree!


Trees are awesome. I know this is true, but I was happy to be reminded of the many ways in which it’s true when yoga teachers Jan Jeremias and Dee Andalkar chose trees as the theme for a recent yoga and aromatherapy workshop. On this March afternoon, we talked about the gift of trees and considered ways we can be more like them.

Why would a person want to be like a tree? Well, the words we associated with trees at the beginning of the workshop might give you a few reasons:

  • Grounded
  • Strong
  • Branches
  • Flexibility
  • Roots

Trees Offer Many Gifts

Do you remember the book, The Giving Tree? Indeed trees have a lot to offer, most notable the oxygen that keeps us alive, of course. Trees also give us the gift of aromatherapy. There are many tree essential oils, including the one Jan and Dee diffused for the group: Douglas fir. The oil has a light, citrus-like quality. It’s a clean, purifying scent that’s good for the respiratory system. It’s also uplifting and can help with focus.

Another essential oil we sampled was cardamom. While not a tree oil, cardamom does have the grounding quality associated with trees. A combination of white fir and grapefruit was another treat that enhanced our yoga practice.

Get Grounded, Branch Out, Ask a Tree

One of the great things about trees is that they are strongly and firmly connected to the earth—to their source—yet they are flexible and able to sway in the wind. This gives trees a foundation from which to weather the storms that come their way. And that’s one thing I’d like to have in common with these beautiful beings.

I was especially struck by Dee’s description of the conversations she has with trees. Now before you start thinking she’s perhaps a bit crazy, let me explain. Better yet, try it! I’ve had a few chats with trees myself. If you’re stressed, confused, overwhelmed, sad, or feeling any other emotion that you’d like some help with, go outside and sit with a tree. Watch its branches sway. Watch its leaves rustle in the wind. Notice the beauty and strength of its trunk, the color of its leaves, and the uniqueness of its branches. I promise if you do this long enough (and without thinking about it too much), answers will come.

Whether the answers actually come from the trees or from somewhere within us is another issue. Trees, after all, don’t look to others to solve their problems. Perhaps they serve as reminders that when we need answers, we can find them within if get grounded, strong, and quiet. When we align with our higher selves, we can navigate what comes our way.

How to Be More Like a Tree

If you’re a yogi, you can be more treelike with a grounding yoga practice. Jan led us through a series of poses that were both grounding and expansive. Tree pose, of course, was one of them. In fact, we did some variations of tree pose that built upon the basic pose.

Poses like crescent lunge and warrior, which we also practiced, are treelike as well. We even did a wonderful flow in which we more or less became trees, moving from an “acorn” to a full-grown tree with “branches.”

My Chat with Trees

spring tree.jpgAsking for answers, as Jan noted well, is part of the human condition. We all want answers; we all wanted to be guided, and we hope that we’re able to be guides for ourselves. But all of us also need help. With this in mind, I spoke to the trees in my own yard the next morning. I had to listen intently to hear their reply since for the most part, the branches are still bare. But on that morning, the first of spring, as I watched the swaying seed pods (you know, those prickly balls that appear before the leaves return), the trees whispered these words: patience, hope, and renewal. Great answers to my questions for sure!

I urge you to speak with trees as often as possible.


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