Feeling scattered? Like your mind is all over the place and you can’t settle down? There’s a yoga pose for that. Tree pose, also called Vrikshasana (vrick-SHAH-sana), has the ability to simultaneously get you grounded and energized.
Vriksha = Tree
Asana = Pose
The pose is akin to trees with their solid foundation and self-assured reach into the sky with ‘arms’ open to attract and gather the light and energy around it.
How to do Tree Pose
Start standing with your feet hip distance apart and your arms by your side. Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee to the side as you connect the sole of your foot with your upper thigh. It may help to grasp your ankle to guide your foot into position.
Once there, press your foot against your thigh and your thigh against your foot. Check in with your left hip. It should be aligned with your shoulder — not jutted out. Tuck your tailbone under to reach it toward the earth and place your hands on your hips.
Moving up the body, lengthen your spine by reaching the crown of your head to the sky. If and when you feel steady bring your hands together at heart center or take it further and reach your finger tips to the sky. Your gaze can be two to three feet in front of you or at the sky.
Breathe as you continue to feel all four corners of your foot press against the earth, engage your standing leg to lift your knee, lengthen your spine, draw into the center line of the body, slide your shoulder blades down your back and reach your fingertips up.
Hold this for five breaths then repeat on the other side.
Tips for Beginners
If you’re new to balance poses, don’t force your foot higher than is comfortable. You can also place the sole of your foot at your ankle or shin.
Like any balance, you may fall over and that’s ok. Simply start again. It’s all part of learning and will teach acceptance that you will carry with you through life.
The most useful tips in this pose may be the counter-pressure between your thigh and foot and lengthening your spine in both directions.
The biggest risk in Tree Pose is the temptation to place the foot of the bent leg near the knee. This is risky and should be avoided. If you can’t reach your thigh, place your foot near your ankle or shin.
Benefits of Tree Pose
Tree pose is a wonderful strengthening posture. It takes a strong standing leg to hold the pose, and the more you practice, the stronger your thighs, calves and ankles will become. It’s also a hip opening posture and provides stretching and opening of the inner thighs and groin.
Additionally, with your arms raised, Vrikshasana strengthens the shoulders and upper back and opens the heart.
Above all, tree pose is both grounding and energizing. It takes concentration which will serve to help you focus and feel confident in life – both on and off the mat.