Tree Pose improves focus and concentration while calming your mind. Its Sanskrit name, “Vrksasana” (vrik-SHAH-suh-nuh), comes from two words:
- “Vrksa,” meaning “tree”
- “Asana,” meaning “pose”
Tree Pose stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders. It builds strength in the ankles and calves, and tones the abdominal muscles. Most notably, though, Tree Pose improves your sense of balance and coordination. Regular practice will improve your focus and your ability to concentrate in all areas of your life, particularly during those times when you might normally feel “off-balance.” This pose can have a positive impact on the ease with which you approach all circumstances, even outside of your yoga practice.
- Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides. Spread your weight evenly across both feet, grounding down equally through the inner ankles, outer ankles, big toes, and baby toes.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right inner ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it. Adjust your position so the center of your pelvis is directly over your left foot. Then, adjust your hips so your right hip and left hip are aligned.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum.
- Fix your gaze gently on one, unmoving point in front of you.
- Draw down through your left foot. Press your right foot into your left thigh, while pressing your thigh equally against your foot.
- Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other. If your shoulders are more flexible, you can press your palms together in prayer position, overhead.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Cautionary Note: Due to the balancing nature of the posture, do not practice Tree Pose if you are currently experiencing headaches, insomnia, low blood pressure, or if you are lightheaded and/or dizzy. Those with high blood pressure should not raise their arms overhead in the pose. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.