How to Do Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Balancing postures are an integral part of the physical practice of yoga. They’re important because they require a type of strength and focus that most of us aren’t actively cultivating in our day to day lives. When you start to practice standing balances, it’s normal to feel wobbly and unstable. You might have to step out to avoid falling. You’re learning to use your body in a new way. This strengthens muscles and neural pathways. Core strength, which is so important for all kinds of sports, for preventing back pain, for healthy ageing, for getting out of bed in the morning, is ground zero for balance. Tree Pose is often the first balancing posture that yoga students tackle.
Benefits of Tree Pose:
• Improves core strength
• Improves balance
• Improves leg strength
1. Come to stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). The first step is to establish balance and attention with both feet on the floor in this stable posture.
2. Transfer your weight into your right foot by lifting your left foot away from the floor. Pause here with the left foot hovering above the ground. Soften your right knee slightly to avoid locking or hyperextending the joint.
3. Bend your left knee and open it to the left. Place the sole of your left foot onto the inside of your right thigh. You can use your hands to position your foot. It’s also ok to put the foot on the inside of your right calf if the thigh isn’t accessible. Just avoid placing the foot on the side of your knee since you’ll be exerting some pressure with your foot and the knee joint is vulnerable.
4. Once you have your foot situated, bring your hands to your hips to make sure they have stayed even. The hip of your standing leg has a tendency to want to jut out to the side as your foot presses on your opposite thigh. Bring the hips back into a Tadasana position if they have shifted.
5. Maintain the micro bend in your right knee throughout. Press your left foot into your right thigh and counter that pressure by pushing the thigh back into your foot. Open your left knee a bit more to the left if you can.
6. Bring your hands to Anjali mudra at your heart. Without altering the position of your head, bring your gaze to the floor a few feet in front of you. Find something that doesn’t move, like a knot in the wood, to fix your eyes on. If you feel stable, lift your arms overhead.
7. After several breaths, release your left foot to the floor. Shake out both legs and then repeat the pose standing on your left leg.
Featured Yogini @minna.skirgard