This is a Koa tree my wife and I came across during a walk we took in Maunawili on the Windward side of O’ahu. Due to overcutting, you don’t find many Koa trees this size anymore on this island. Koa wood is a magnificent tropical hard wood that has a beautifully deep pattern as seen in this picture of a Koa wood door we took at the Hawai’i State Legislature. It also is made for Koa bowls which are worth their weight in gold.
This Koa tree reminds me of Vrksasana, or Tree Pose. It is a rare tree that is getting rarer with demand. It is like how yoga is becoming in the West. In today’s practice, there is too much emphasis on yoga as a workout, or yoga as a fashion enterprise instead of its original purpose: to stop the mind so the practitioner can see his or her own splendor. Because of this, all the old teaching is dying out in favor of trendy yogas which incorporate style over substance. Soon the old teachings will be dead if we don’t preserve them.
Here is a presentation of Vrksasana the way my teachers have taught me.
As many have difficulty balancing in the middle of the room while maintaining the proper actions of the pose, I will teach with a wall.
Start in Tadasana with the wall by your right side.
Extend your right arm up and lean into the wall with your hip.
Rotate your left leg and place the left foot high to the root of the thigh. Rotate your ankle so the toes are pointed straight down.
As the thigh is shaped like a cylinder, placing the foot to close to the edge will make your foot roll off.
From here, squeeze your hips together intensely until the hip comes off the wall. Keep the right arm up to maintain balance.
Then extend the left arm up to match.
Now work the hands together but not by bending the elbows.
Because abdomen and the chest sink.
Instead work your hand together by lifting them higher and higher until the meet at a point like railroad tracks in the distance. This is Urdvha Namaskarasana.
Then the abdomen and chest lift.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. And repeat on the other side. Eventually Work towards balancing in the middle of the room.