Vrksasana: Tree Pose

POSE: Tree Pose

SANSKRIT NAME: Vrksasana

 

BENEFITS: Improves balance, strengthens feet/ankles, opens hips, improves focus/concentration, quiets the mind, helps with brain fog, grounding

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HOW TO:
From Tadasana, shift the weight onto one foot, and lift the other foot up off the mat, pressing the sole of the foot into the inside of the standing leg. Resist the temptation to use the hands to position the foot higher than it wants to go naturally. Doing so can send the hip out of alignment. Let the foot fall wherever it wants to be naturally. This can be above or below the knee, but make sure the heel of the foot doesn’t press into the knee joint. Hands can be at your heart in prayer position, or you can lift them up over head.

ALIGNMENT TIPS:

  • Actively press into all four corners of the standing foot
  • Engage the quad muscle of the standing leg, keeping a micro bend in the knee
  • Think hip over knee over ankle
  • Engage the glutes to open the hip of the bent leg
  • Engage the abdominal muscles and draw the front ribs in
  • Keep the shoulders plugged in their sockets

 

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CHAIR YOGA MODIFICATION: Seated Vrksasana in a chair

BENEFITS: For practitioners who may have difficulty balancing. Practicing in a chair will allow you to build strength and open the hips without the risk of falling.

ALIGNMENT TIPS: 

  • Sit away from the back of the chair to avoid slouching
  • The “standing” foot should be directly below the knee – leg is at a 90 degree angle
  • Press evenly into both sit bones
  • Press the opposite foot into the inside of the “standing leg” – hip externally rotates open
  • Engage the core muscles and draw the front ribs in – good posture
  • Hands can be in prayer at your heart or overhead

RESTORATIVE YOGA MODIFICATION: Reclining Vrksasana

BENEFITS: Opens the hips, restorative

ALIGNMENT TIPS: 

  • Relax all the muscles, let this be a passive pose
  • Arms can be stretched overhead or resting alongside the body with the palms face up (like in savasana)
  • If your hip feels over-stretched in this pose, try placing a pillow or rolled up blanket under the bent knee

 

Ready to incorporate tree pose into your practice? Share your photos with @spoonieyogatribe on Instagram!