Yoga Poses

Tree Pose /Vrksasana

Steps

  • Start by standing in Mountain Pose. Then, shift all of the body-weight onto the left foot and bend the right knee. With a bent knee begin to open the right hip to the right side of the body.
  • Keeping the knee bent and hip open to the right, reach down with the right hand and clasp the right ankle. Bring the right foot up with the right hand and, if possible, place the right foot along the left inner thigh. Toes are pointing down toward the floor. Firmly press the sole of the right foot against the left inner thigh and, at the same time, press the left inner thigh into the sole of the right foot.
  • While you are in Tree Pose, your tailbone drops toward the floor and your pubic bone lifts. Remember to keep your ears, shoulders, hips, left knee and ankle aligned. In order to maintain balance in tree, remember to breathe steadily and try gazing softly at a spot in the floor about 8 feet ahead of you that is not moving.
  • Arms can be inhaled straight up, placing the biceps next to your ears, hands can be on the hips, or hands can press together for Prayer Pose in front of the chest.
  • Try staying in Tree Pose for five complete breath cycles or for as long as your wish. To come out of Tree Pose, remove the foot from the thigh and slowly exhale the leg down until you are back in Mountain Pose.
  • Perform steps one through four on the opposite side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Feel all four points of your foot firmly planted in the ground. Imagine roots extending out of your feet traveling deeply into the ground. If your feet are firmly planted, you may be able to shift and sway the top half of your body without losing your balance. This is similar to the leaves and branches of a tree blowing in the wind, while the trunk and roots remain still

Technical Comments

Stack your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over your hips, hips over your knees, and knees over your ankles. Keep in mind that this and many other yoga poses contain elements of Mountain Pose.

If you are shaky in this pose, scan your body to see where the shakiness is originating. Is the whole body wobbly or is it just in the ankles? Sometimes weak ankles make balance poses a little tricky. A great way to strengthen weak ankles is to keep practicing Tree Pose and other balance poses.

Benefit Comments

  • Improves concentration.
  • Improves balance.
  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine

Watch Out For:

  • If you are able to bring the foot all the way up to your opposite thigh, make sure you are applying pressure from your foot to your thigh and, simultaneously, from your thigh to your foot.
  • Always skip your knee joint! Do not place your foot on your knee joint at any time. You may risk pushing the joint in a direction that it is not meant to go.

Contraindications

If you have high blood pressure, keep the hands in Prayer Pose in front of the chest. Refrain from lifting them overhead.

Modifications

If you are not comfortable balancing on your own, try this pose up against a wall for extra support or hold on to the back of a folding chair. If bringing the foot all the way to the upper thigh is not possible, try these modifications:
  • Rest the foot of the bent leg next to the foot or ankle of the standing leg.
  • Place the foot right next to the calf. In this modification, you do not apply pressure from the foot to the calf. You are simply “holding” the foot next to the calf.

Variations

Seated:  This pose can be done in a folding chair. Sitting up tall, stacking ears, shoulders and hips, bend one leg and bring the foot to the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Press the bottom foot firmly into the ground and press the bent knee foot firmly into the upper thigh.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Standing poses such as Mountain Pose
  • Forward Fold

Written By: Amber Kocian RYT

Amber encourages students to test their limits, but gently reminds them to listen to and respect their bodies as they are each day. She believes that a safe, consistent yoga practice has the power to help anyone in every aspect of their lives.
Website: ambersyoga.wordpress.com

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