Vriksasana / Tree Pose

Tree Pose in the Matrimandir meditation garden Auroville, South India, International Yoga Day 2017

Practice this asana for a gentle yet powerful approach to physical and mental balance. The Tree Pose calms and focuses the mind while heightening awareness of your physical body. In fact, practice this posture any time you feel the need to gather your thoughts and tune back into presence! As a balancing pose, it can be practiced in addition to or in place of the Crow in the basic series.

Benefits:

  • Improves physical and mental balance
  • Reduces fallen arches in feet
  • Relieves sciatica, by relieving pressure in lower back
  • Aligns and strengthens the spine
  • Heightens body awareness in space
  • Increases concentration and willpower
  • Aids in meditation

Contraindications:

  • Osteopenia/osteoporosis (see variations)
  • Ankle/knee/hip injury (see variations)
  • Headache
  • Low or high blood pressure (don’t raise arms over head)

Instructions:

1. Begin by standing with feet hip width apart, arms relaxed by the sides.

2. Shift your weight into your left leg. Spread the toes and grasp the floor with them, this will help gain balance. Your weight should be equally distributed throughout the foot.

3. Pick a fixed point of concentration out in front of you.

4. Once you feel balanced, bend the right knee out to the right and place your right foot either at the left ankle (gentle), calf(intermediate), or inner thigh (advanced). Do not lock the left knee. You may keep a gentle bend in the left knee to decrease pressure on the joints.

5. Bring the palms together in front of the heart. Once balanced, you may raise the arms over the head.

6. To release, slowly bring the arms down, then lower the right foot to the ground.

7. Repeat on the other side.

Gentle Variation

If you have osteopenia, osteoporosis, or weak ankles/knees/hips, you should practice ONLY while holding onto a wall or chair for support and only bring the heal off the ground. Do not place yourself in a situation where you may fall.

Vriksasana in Half Lotus / Advanced Variation

After step 3:

4. Bring the right ankle to your left hip into Half Lotus. The foot should feel locked in place. You should be able to stand straight up with the right knee pointing down.

5. Option: Bind the right arm behind the back to catch hold of your right toe with two fingers.

6. Bring the hands to prayer at the chest, then raise the arms overhead. If in a bind, do this with your left hand only.

7. To release, lower your arms, unbind and gently release the right foot back to the floor.

8. Repeat on the opposite side.

 

If all of this is still too easy, try closing your eyes. Have fun! We would love to see you post a picture of yourself to our Facebook page doing the tree pose in a sweet spot. Om Shanti!

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