Fred Hageneder    Trees

Tree yoga

by Christine McPherson

Dedicated followers of Yoga know that there has always been a strong connection between their philosophy and the world of trees.

Many point out that it was no coincidence that the Buddha became enlightened while sitting under a Bodhi tree.

And, according to Kundalini Yoga guru Satya Singh, 'Yoga that is practised under or near a tree is made more powerful by the aura of that tree'.

In a new book, Singh and Fred Hageneder- co-founder of the Friends of the Trees organisation - highlight the spiritual significance of twelve species of tree alongside suggested meditations and exercises for each.

They firmly believe that 'every species of tree embodies particular qualities and energies, and has its own voice'.

'Practise Yoga under an oak, for example, and absorb the power and determination that it radiates, thus becoming more reliable and steadfast yourself,' they explain. 'Or go under a beech tree to elevate your focus and clarity of mind.'

They go on: 'Our initial idea with tree Yoga is to first decide which exercises you want to do, and then go outside to find a tree whose energies will support the intention behind the exercises you have chosen.

'If possible, practise them under, or at least nearby, the tree that you find.'

If that is not possible - particularly in winter - the duo suggest you can do the exercises at home and visualise the type of tree that you want to work with, adding: 'Imagination can sometimes create the same effects as reality.'

Take the elder tree, for instance. "Tree Yoga' explains: 'Every species of tree affects the landscape that it is part of, and the human soul too. The tree's power to do this, however, is not necessarily determined by its physical size. The modest appearance of the elder is a great example of this. Being small and generally multi-stemmed, it looks more like a bush than a tree. Yet its legend is remarkable. It appears in more myths, stories and folktales than some of the "great" tress that dominate the landscape.'

It is believed that every part of the elder tree can be used to heal the human being. Elderflowers break fevers and are generally calming, the berries are loaded with vitamins and strengthen the immune system.

The book goes on: 'Northern European folklore associates this tree with the compassionate, nourishing and healing side of the earth spirits.

'In German-speaking countries it was common, until the beginning of the 20th century, to see people taking their hats off to the elder tree as they walked past.'

With such history and background, it is understandable then that the authors suggest the key words to attune yourself to the spiritual world of the elder tree would be abundance, spiritual nourishment, trust and gratitude.

other trees:

Key words which attune us to the spiritual home of each tree:

Birch new beginnings, protection, innocence and the joy of living

Elm communication, love, letting go and freedom Pine self-discipline, endurance, courage and grace

Rowan inspiration, the voice of the heart and protection Beech concentration, preservation, alignment and discipline

Oak life energy, strength and determination

'Tree Yoga' by Satya Singh and Fred Hageneder is available from Findhom Press.

Satya Singh is the author of the Kundalini Yoga handbook for the health of body, mind and soul - a book which has since become a standard text for Kundalini Yoga. See also:  Fred Hageneder is an author, musician, graphic designer and lecturer. He is a member of the Ancient Yew Group ( ) and co-founder of Friends of the Trees ( ) a registered charity which aims to promote modern tree sanctuaries as oases of peace.