“To Agni we speak and to the trees, to the plants and to the herbs; to Indra,
Brihaspati, and Sûya: they shall deliver us from calamity!”. Atharva Veda
In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic medicine, treatment comes from plants and trees, that is mainly from the plant kingdom, but also minerals can be used to heal. Ayurvedic physicians know the importance of respecting Nature for its boundless healing power.
At Christmas time, trees take on a particularly important meaning, because some of them become the “Christmas Tree”.
Decorated with lights and special objects, these trees spread their enchanting power and catch the attention of those who can feel it. Nevertheless, have you ever wondered why the Christmas tree is decorated?
Certainly, trees are significant in many of the world’s mythologies, and have been given deep and sacred meanings throughout the ages. They symbolise the cosmos and its perpetual regeneration; the evolution of life with death and regeneration after it. Their leaves fall and a new cycle begins. As seasons go through their changes, trees react to their cycle. Have you ever noticed that? Which is your favourite tree? As symbols, trees allow us to communicate with the three levels of cosmos: through their roots we can go deep into the Underground and reach hidden and buried places; throughout their trunk and lower branches we can touch the Surface of the Earth, that is the worldly and material, everything we can see and touch, the experiences we live through our senses; and lastly, through the upper branches and leaves, we can build a bridge with the celestial heights and the Light. This help us establishing a connection with the Divine, the Spiritual and the Transcendent. That is why trees are considered a connection between Heaven and Hell. Trees also put together the five elements of Nature: they have a place in space, air nurtures their leaves, water flows through their lymph, fire can be made thought the rubbing of their branches, and the earth blend in their bodies through their roots.
In yoga, “the tree” or vrikshasana is a popular body pose of balance and concentration, where weight is shifted to one leg and the entire sole of the foot remains in contact with the floor. The knee is bent and points straight out to the side. Hands are first kept in prayer’s position at heart level, and then over the head to finalise the asana. Being a symmetric pose, vrikshasana requires to repeat the exercise with both legs. While practising vrikshasana your mind should focus on these questions: “Am I more into the material through the contact with the earth? Or is my weight more on the spiritual level and its relation with heavens? What is your mind attached to? The drishti, the focal point or gaze we use in Yoga, will bring us steadiness, clarity and consciousness, any thought during the asana can hinder the balance we have reached. Going back to the lighting Christmas tree and its meaning during Holidays, wasn’t it Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, who also “enlightened” under the Bodhi tree or Ficus religiosa?
Also, trees give shelter to many animals of the earth and air, and provide shade and protection to those who are looking for them. Perhaps the ritual of tree hugging is a sort of saying thank you for everything they give us.
What is your relation with trees? Do you put up a Christmas tree? What’s your bond with it? I’d like to further explore this topic with you, and I invite you to look a the the image in this post and let me know what it says to you.
Let me conclude for now with a quote I want to share: “If the branch is to flower, it must honour its roots”. Fréderic Pacere Titinga