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Pose of the week: Tree Pose - Vriksasana

By Ashley Michelle

Tree Pose – Vriksasana (vrik-SHAHS-anna) Vrik means “tree.”

Try not to take this pose too seriously.

However, you are strongly encouraged to take it slowly, step by step.

Jen Vince demonstrates Tree Pose.

While in a class, or if you want to try this pose at home, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Start by standing in Mountain Pose/Tadasana, with feet hip width apart. Find matched inhales and exhales, connecting with the breath before you begin.

  • Decide which side you are doing first. (We will start on the right side for this example.) Begin by rooting down through all corners of the standing-balancing opposite left foot.

*Yogi Tip - lift up all the toes on that left foot and then slowly, one at a time, connect each toe back down to the floor or mat. Add a claw like effect in the toes, a ‘gripping’ feeling. Keep a slight micro bend in the standing balancing knee.
  • Find a focal point – something to look at that’s not moving, either straight out in front of you or slightly down and in front. Take a few moments with your focal point. If you’re feeling unbalanced you can decide to use the support of a wall.

  • When you feel grounded with steady balance, try a ‘kick-stand’ version first. Slide the arch of the right foot up to gently rest it on the ankle area of the left foot. Continue pressing right toes firmly into the earth. The right knee may bend slightly towards the right. (Do not press the foot into the ankle. Think about the idea of both right foot and left ankle supporting one another.)

  • If you would like, you can explore sliding the right foot up to connect under the left knee. (Be very mindful in and around the knee area. You do not want to press the foot into the knee joint. However, you may gently connect the arch of the right foot to cover the knee area as long as you are mindful in doing so.)

  • There is an option to explore bringing the right foot up into the left inner thigh. Think of pressing leg into foot, foot into leg. Draw everything into the midline, right up the center of your being.

  • If your hands are free and not using a wall for support, you can bring hands into Anjali Mudra, which means hands at heart center, prayer hands or Namaste. Spread the fingertips wide, press the hands firmly together and connect the thumbs right into the sternum. Feel the heart lift and open.

  • You may stay in this moment breathing deeply with matched inhales and exhales.

  • If you would like you can try to ‘grow the branches of your tree.’ Keep your breath steady and your focal point connected. Start to slowly rise the arms up beside the ears and overhead. Keep the shoulders drawing down the back body as you keep the chin parallel with the floor. Think of your arms like the branches of a tree. They may even sway side to side naturally, just like trees in the wind.

  • Give yourself the same amount of time to come out of the pose as you did to come into it. Don’t hold the pose as long as you possibly can. Give yourself space and time to come out slowly and with integrity until that standing right foot connects back down to the earth again.

  • Take three full, deep matched inhales and exhales when you arrive back at center.

Possible Physical Benefits

  • Improves balance

  • Lengthens the spine

  • Strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs

  • Opens the shoulders and chest area

  • Improves circulation

Possible Mental Benefits

  • Helps with focus

  • Cultivates poise

  • Calms the brain

Last week: Easy Sitting Pose - Sukhasana

Next week: Warrior One - Virabhadrasana I.

*Photos taken at The Spiritual Spa

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