Tree
Benefit of Yoga Poses,  Yoga

Classic Yoga Poses – Tree Pose Vrksasana

The Tree Pose, known as Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is a basic yoga pose used to promote balance and centering. The Sanskrit name comes from the words vrksa meaning tree, and asana meaning pose.

 

Benefits Of Tree Pose

Tree Pose strengthens and tones the leg muscles, ankles and feet. It strengthens the core while opening your hips and stretching your inner thighs and groin muscles.

It is a balancing exercise. For the most part, it is physically simple, and yet it is mentally highly demanding.  This posture develop, to the highest degree, the powers of mental concentration and single-mindedness of thought, as well as physical balance.

The pose tones the leg muscles and gives one a sense of balance and poise. This balancing pose adjusts the vertebrae of the spine and promotes good posture. It refreshes and uplifts the mind.

 

Finding Your Roots in Tree Pose

To find your balance in Tree Pose, plant deep roots to get grounded.

This ancient, reliable pose is often the first balance posture you learn, since it is relatively simple and strengthens your legs and spine and opens your thighs and hips.

When you practice balancing poses, you learn some practical lessons in how to get grounded, find your center, stay focused, and steady your mind. Plus, the process, falling and trying again, helps develop patience and persistence, humility and good humor.

 

How To Balance In Tree Pose

Learning to balance often has more to do with your mental state than your physical abilities. If you are stressed, or if your mind is scattered, your body is likely to be unsteady, too. And, of course, the very practice of trying to balance is stressful. Most of us, as we try to balance, have unsettling thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “Everyone is watching me wobble” or “I have a weak leg”.

As follows are three tools you can use to quiet distracting mental chatter and steady your mind:

1. Be Aware of Your Breath:

Paying attention to your breath helps unite body and mind and establish a state of physiologic calm. As yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar writes in his classic guide, Light on Yoga, “regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind.”

2. Direct Your Gaze:

Also called drishti in Sanskrit, a steady gaze helps focus your mind. In Tree pose, anchoring your gaze on the horizon or a fixed point directs energy forward to keep you upright.

3. Visualize Your Tree:

Imagine that you are a tree with your feet rooted firmly in the earth and your head extending up toward the sun. Find an image that suits your body and temperament – a graceful willow, a solid oak or a flirty palm. Invite this mental picture to guide you toward stability.

 

How To Do The Tree Pose

If you are a beginner, try the posture without a mat by letting your feet connect directly with the firm surface because this way can help you to have the grounded feel easily.

Begin by breathing steadily in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Root down through your legs and feet and lengthen up through your torso and head.

Shift your body weight to the left leg, and pick up your right heel, keeping your right toes touching the floor. Bring the sole of your right foot to your left ankle and open your right knee out to the right – keeping your toes on the floor can help you to balance especially for beginner who has problem to balance.

If you are comfortable, bring your foot to the inside of the left thigh. Release your tailbone toward the floor. Elongate your spine and press the foot of your standing leg down firmly.

Be sure your frontal hip bones in neutral and one side isn’t lifting higher than the other. Lengthen your waist and gently draw your bent knee back to help open the thigh, all the while keeping your pelvis in neutral.

Anchor your gaze at eye level on the horizon and press your palms together in front of your heart in the prayer position known as Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal).

When you feel ready to experiment with your balance, inhale as you reach your arms up toward the ceiling, parallel to each other with your palms facing in. (In some versions of the pose the palms touch. Try it both ways to see which you prefer.)

Lengthen through your fingers as you relax your shoulders, drawing your shoulder blades down your back. Stay in the pose for several slow, steady breaths, keeping your face passive. Then, if you want an extra challenge, try staying balanced in Tree pose with your eyes closed. Repeat the pose on the other side.

You may also like to check it out the below video for a short explanation of how to do the yoga Tree pose conducted by Yoga Therapist Shy Sayar.

 

Steady Body & Calm Mind

Yoga Tree pose can bring a wonderful sense of inner peace. It teaches you how to be both strong and supple, to be rooted without being rigid. A tree must be able to sway in the wind or risk having its branches or trunk snap. So the key is to feel rooted in your feet.HeartMath LLC

If you are unsteady in the pose, start from the ground up and make sure your toes are relaxed and long, the sole of your foot is pressed evenly into the floor, and the muscles of your standing leg are engaged.

It is always important to leave your ego at the door when you practice yoga. So don't be too proud to practice a Tree pose near a wall if it helps. As with all postures, it is essential to let go of your ambition about how you think you should be in the pose and accept where you are as fully as possible.

Be aware that your balance and flexibility can change from day to day, depending on what you ate, how you slept, and a host of other variables. So don't assume you will glide effortlessly into the pose just because you have done it before.

Tuning in to the subtle changes in your body, mind and spirit will teach you how to stay in the present moment. Be playful and patient, use props if you need them, and if you fall, try again. With time, practice and patience, you will make progress.

 

Common Mistakes In Tree Pose

Keep these things in mind to make sure you are getting the most out of Tree Pose and not compromising your joints.

Hip Position
The most important thing to work on in Tree is making sure that the pressure of your lifted foot on your standing leg doesn't cause that side's hip to stick out. The hips should stay as square as possible, just as if you still have both feet on the floor in Mountain Pose.

Foot Position
Be careful to avoid placing the right foot directly on the side of the left knee since that puts your joint in a vulnerable position.

Knee Position
Make sure that your right knee doesn't creep forward toward the center line. Keep it pointing to the right.

Mind Lacks Proper Concentration
Keep calm and stay focus inward.

 

Modifications and Variations

While Tree Pose is considered rather simple, listen to your body and modify it as and if needed. Then, once you have mastered it, make some changes for more of a challenge.

Need a Modification?
If your right foot doesn't come easily to the upper left thigh, bring it lowers on the left leg. The left calf is a good option. You can even put the right foot on your left ankle and keep your right toes on the floor like a little kickstand if that's best for you.

Use the wall or chair for balance if necessary.

Refer to images below for more variations.

 

 

Tree Pose Advanced Variations


The above pose, Half Lotus Tree, is for more advanced and more flexible students. Fixing the eyes on a point in front of you is the key to balancing the body.

For this Tree variation, place the foot on the opposite thigh in Half Lotus position. To take it even one step further, reach your left hand behind your back and take a bind with your left big toe or a different variation (Refer to below images). Hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable. Make sure you practice on both sides.

 

Note: Please perform the yoga pose under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.

 

Do you have any thought or experience you would like to share? Please do leave them in my comment box and I am more than happy to hear from you! Make sure to click on the social share buttons on this article and share it with others so that people learn too. Give a Like to my article too! Thank you.

Namaste.

HeartMath LLC

 

*This post may contain affiliate links

I’m a qualified yoga teacher. I have been practicing yoga since year 2002 and start teaching since year 2004. I have created Janet Yoga Spirit to help everyone who is in the yoga journey and provide products and services to help everyone in whatever they are looking for in related to yoga including nice and comfortable yoga clothings for your yoga practice, yoga accessories that help you in your practice, retreats to help you to unplug yourself, yoga teacher training, yoga and meditation classes, yoga and wellness programs, tools to help you with the union of the body, mind and soul, and much more! Learn more about me under "About" and enjoy looking around and have a good time here! Namaste.

8 Comments

  • ibrahim

    Your website looks like its been running for a while. Impressive navigation menus, lots of pages, educative and entertaining. I will really love to come back to your website. I am a fan! Keep the good work.

    • Janet

      Hi Ibrahim. Thank you for your compliment. You are always welcome back again to my website! I will do my best to share as much as I can with everyone. See you again!

  • Lisa

    Hi Janet,

    Thank you for this post. I had no idea that these yoga poses were tree poses – but it makes perfect sense now that I look at them!

    I understand the importance of balance and connectedness to the ground, although I’ve not practised any yoga recently. I have been doing a fair amount of barefoot weightlifting which (surprisingly to some) requires a lot more balance and ground connection then the same exercise with shoes on.

    Would this exercise be helpful in looseing my gluteus medius? It has been an area of particular stiffness over the past few weeks and I’m struggling to find interesting ways to reduce the stiffness.

    Thanks in advance!
    Lisa

    • Janet

      Hi Lisa. Yes, there are many variations of Tree pose. To some people might not know and thought that they are different poses.

      Yes, there is a different when practice with barefoot and shoes. You will feel that you are more connected to the ground with barefoot. And it help to work on more different part of the muscles with barefoot. Therefore, you are gaining more benefits. You will notice that yoga are being practice with barefoot traditionally. That should be the proper way of practice.

      There are a number of yoga poses that work on the gluteus medius and Tree pose is one of the poses. Other poses include Mountain pose, Downward Dog Stretch, Upward Plank, Chair pose, Sitting Spinal twist, Locust Pose, Proud Warrior, Triangle, Eagle pose, Pigeon Pose and more!

      I would recommend you to try a full session yoga class instead by just do one or two poses yourself if you want to see result and improvement.

  • Partha Banerjee

    Hi Janet,

    I think this may be the very thing I need.

    I will admit to being somewhat of a meathead gym-goer and have lifted weights consistently for over 20 years. I’ve had my fair share of minor injuries over the years and this culminated in me rupturing 2 discs in my lower spine.

    Thankfully, I healed completely and got back to my usual weightlifting routine.

    However, as the years go by (and I’m not getting any younger) I find that I am prone to getting slight niggles in the hip, glute and hamstring area.

    I believe this area of the body has always been a weakness for me and my lower-body flexibility is practically non-existent.

    I’ve managed to incorporate a few yoga poses in my cool down and stretching routine after lifting, but the tree pose is one that I’ve never considered.

    I can see I’ll need to start off with one of the easier modifications and hopefully work my way up.

    Thanks for a very insightful article.

    Partha

    • Janet

      Hi Partha. Yes, you can add Tree pose into one of your few yoga poses after your lifting. I know alot of people don’t like or have fear doing the Tree pose because of the balancing. As I have mentioned in my article, you can always start with the most simple modification Tree pose to help yourself with the balance first.

      Always remember yoga is not about challenging who do the best or who can balance! You will be surprise to realise the more you let go of your ego, the easiler you can balance.

      I particularly like Tree pose because it not only train our body but it train our mind too. Learning to let go and find inner peace. Before I start learn yoga, I have ever fracture my right foot from fall. Since then, my right foot is weak.

      When I start learn yoga and being ask to do Tree pose, I told my yoga teacher I cannot balance with my right foot because it ever fracture in the past. And my yoga teacher just said “This is not a problem. You can do it!” With this words “You can do it” in my mind, I face my own challenge everytime when come to Tree pose and through regular practice and determination, my right leg become even stronger than my left leg!

      This is the power of mind…:-)

  • Cynthia

    Hello Janet,

    Super excited to have come across your site. I am definitely book marking it because I love how detailed you explain the poses.

    I have practiced yoga many times over the past decade and the best teachers really know how to describe what you should be feeling and describing every tiny movement, some of which would didn’t even know it existed! LOL

    With the virus going on right now, I have been practicing yoga at home with Youtube videos and now your website will just motivate me to increase my practice. Keep on the great work.

    • Janet

      Hi Cynthia. Glad to hear that you love my website and posts. You are always welcome back again to check out for more information.

      Yes, online yoga classes are the best solution to keep your yoga practice go on during this lockdown period if you can’t do self practice without a guide. And it is very convenient as you can practice it any time.

      I will continue to share as much as I can in my blog website to help as many people as I can to gain more knowledge and information. It is also a process for me to continue learning too. Thank you. Namaste.

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