TREE POSE (Vrkshasana)


In the Tree Pose (Vrkshasana), the roots, or the standing foot, press down and connect to the earth for support while the branches, or arms, extend towards the sun. This graceful posture teaches us to feel grounded while lifting and reaching upwards. Combining these two opposite forces allows a practitioner to find inner balance and peace. Learn to perform the tree pose correctly and give reverence to your body as the tree of life.

Contra-indications and cautions: Headache, insomnia, low blood pressure, knee or hip injuries. High blood pressure - don't raise arms overhead

How to perform: From a standing position, shift the weight to the right leg and place the sole of left foot anywhere along the inner side of the right leg with toes pointing downwards. The heel can be on the inner shin or further up on the inner thigh, but not pressing against the knee, as this will move it out of its proper alignment. In the full variation pose, the heel is positioned at the perineum. Bring the palms together in front of the heart and steady yourself for balance. When you are ready, on an inhalation, raise the arms overhead, straightening the elbows and lifting your chest fully. The hands can be in prayer position or shoulder width apart. Hold the pose for up to 12 deep breaths. With each inhalation, draw earth energy up the standing leg and allow the entire body to lengthen. With each exhalation, feel your self grounding and relaxing without losing stability or length. To release the pose, exhale and place the foot on the ground and arms down by your sides. Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed.

Do not jam the lower back - tuck in the tailbone towards the pubic bone, keep the sitting bones stretching downward, and the abdomen drawing back towards the spine. Do not bend the elbows or tighten the shoulders towards the ears - stretch out through the fingertips pressing the elbows towards each other, and, at the same time, draw the arms back into the shoulder joints, while relaxing the shoulders and firming the shoulder blades against the back.

Do make sure the pelvis is facing straight ahead, with the top rim parallel to the floor, and the hips are aligned as you continue pressing the bent knee downwards and outwards to open the hips more. Keep your chest wide and stretch the entire body upwards using the upper back muscles. Lift the kneecap of the standing leg and press the foot into the earth keeping the toes spread and the weight distributed evenly on the forefoot and heel.

What if… I can’t find my balance? Instability comes from weakness in the foot arch, inner thigh, buttock muscles, or loss of concentration. Focus your eyes on a point in the distance, and press both the thigh of the standing leg and the foot equally against each other. For the easiest variation, keep the toes of the bent leg on the ground with the heel pressed against the straight leg.

Benefits: Strengthens the nervous system. Tones the lower back, hip, leg, ankle and foot muscles. Stretches shoulders and chest. Helps correct flat feet. Develops physical and mental balance, builds concentration and focus.


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