Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

tree pose vrksasana via flckr
Pronunciation: vrik-SHAHS-anna
Pose Type: Standing, Balance Pose

If you have ever slipped in the mud or tripped over a rock, you know the value of a good sense of balance. Tree pose, or Vrksasana, is a standing balance pose that strengthens the legs, calms, the mind, and improves stability and balance. Practicing balancing poses like Tree Pose helps you gain physical and mental steadiness and poise. The calming and meditative benefits of standing in tree pose teaches that while your body may sway – like a tree in the wind – it can be steadied with the mind and muscles, so you stay calm no matter what the outside circumstances may be.

If you cannot bring the raised foot high into the other thigh, place it lower on the leg but avoid placing it directly on the knee as this causes strain. Take your time with the pose. As with any balancing pose, it’s easier to come into it slowly and with awarenessss. If you enter it too quickly you are more likely to lose your balance which makes it difficult to regain once its lost.

Pose Sequence

This yoga pose is typically accessed from Mountain Pose, or Tadasana:

  1. Starting in a standing position, shift the weight of your body slightly into one foot, while lifting the other firmly slightly off the floor.
  2. Lift the opposite foot and bend the knee, placing the sole of the foot against the grounded inner thigh, tucking it into the groin (if you can) and pointing the toes down the leg. If necessary, reach down with your hand and clasp the ankle to pull it upward.
  3. The center of your pelvis should remain directly over the grounded foot in a neutral position.
  4. Rest your hands on your waist for a moment to ensure the pelvis is stable, then lengthen your tailbone toward the floor pressing the raised leg gently against the inner thigh and the thigh against the foot to create resistance.
  5. Once established, you can raise your arms overhead and gaze softly before you at a fixed point or up toward the sky depending on your balance. A partner can help with the reaching balance.

Releasing from the pose is done by stepping back into Tadasana on the exhale. Repeat the same pose on the other side. As you practice this pose, you feel rooted and balanced like a tree that has stood the test of time through all forms of weather.

Benefits of Tree Pose, Vrksasana

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Strengthening the thighs, calves, ankles and spine
  • Stretching the inner groin and thighs
  • Opening the chest and shoulders
  • Strong sense of balance

Tree pose is a gentle reminder that you can bring calm focus and clear headedness to every situation, not just when you are in a standing meditation.

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