Tree Pose  -Vrksasana

Step by Step

  • From Mountain pose, shift your weight onto your left leg. Ground your left foot down into the floor, and pull up your knee cap and thigh by engaging your quadriceps muscles.
  • Gaze at a point at eye level, to help you to keep your balance.
  • Bend your right knee, reach down with your right hand and clasp your ankle.
  • With the help of your hand, place your right foot on the inside of your left leg. If it’s available to you, place your foot on your inner thigh, with your heel up high. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor.
  • Otherwise, place the inside of your foot on the inside of your ankle or calf. Avoid the inside of your knee.
  • Turn your knee out to the side, press your foot against your inner thigh, and your inner thigh back into your foot.
  • Bring your hands in front of your heart in prayer position, or you can lift your arms up to the ceiling. Hands can remain shoulder-width apart.
  • With your arms overhead, lengthen up from the back body.
  • Stay in this pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. On an exhalation lower your leg and arms down, and stand in Tadasana.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Beginners tips

  • Keep the knee of your standing leg soft - do not hyperextend if you are very flexible in this area
  • To find stability and balance:
    Spread through the toes and press the foot firmly into the floor
    Engage the muscles of the leg, hips, glutes
    Maintain an active core.

Benefits

  • Improves balance
  • Opens the hips
  • Strengthens the ankles, legs and spine
  • Lengthens the spine
  • Improves focus/ concentration

Watch out for

  • Whether your arms are extended overhead or your hands are in prayer position in front of your heart, don’t collapse from the shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulder blades on your back, spread through your collarbones, and release your shoulders away from your ears.

Variations

  • You can explore a bound tree pose by externally rotating your raised leg, and placing the outside of your foot across the top of your standing leg, near the groin.
  • Press the foot into the groin area and your groin area into your foot.
  • Using the example of your right leg as your standing leg, explore the bind by wrapping leg arm behind your back and taking hold of your shirt, coming round your right hip, or taking hold of the toes of your left foot.
  • If you have bound, keep your shoulders away from the ears and squared to the front. Bring your right hand in half prayer in front of your chest.