The Tree Pose (Vrksasana) develops balance, concentration, stability, poise and strengthens legs and feet. It increases flexibility in hips and knees, opens chest, tones shoulder muscles. Stabilizes nerve and calming.
Vrksasana is a one-legged balance pose with three lines of energy radiating outward from the center:
- One line runs down the straight leg
- One line spans the spine and arms
- Third line runs out from the bent knee
This yoga pose is primarily a balancing pose, and its main benefit lies in improving balance and enhancing the nervous system. When you balance, you are forced to focus your mind, and as you focus, you will realize that you are balancing. When the mind wanders, the body does. Stress and tension forbids you to balance.
Stabilizing your mind and body through stretching, this asana also strengthens your joints and bones and extends the hips and chest. It loosens the shoulders as well as tones the arms.
Meaning + Origin
- Its Sanskrit name, Vrksasana, comes from two words Vrksa + asana:
- “Vrksa” = “tree”
- “asana” = “pose or posture”
In many Indian traditions, trees, especially the Ashoka tree, are symbols of love and devotion. Many cultures acquire knowledge of trees to discover their branches, trunks, leaves and roots for powerful healing. Patient by nature, trees are calm and stable, they live their long lives in tune with the seasons and circadian rhythms of the world. In Indian literature, trees often appear as sacred symbols of the universe, a bridge between the creator and the individual.
|Also known as:
|Vrksasana, Tree Pose
|Ajna chakra, Swadisthana chakra, Muladhara chakra
|Arch, ankles, calves, thighs
|Tadasana, Navasana, Baddha konasana
|Utthita hasta padangusthasana, Ardha utkatasana, Virabhadrasana I
|Sciatica, spine, flat feet, circulation, balance
|Low blood pressure, insomnia; modification for high blood pressure (keep hands under the heart), Headache
Benefits of Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Following are the physical and mental benefits of Tree Pose (Vrksasana), If it is practiced regularly, it can do for your body:
- Physical Benefits:
- Improves circulation
- Lengthens the spine
- Remedies flat feet
- Strengthens the arches, ankles, calves, and thighs
- Opens the shoulders, chest, thighs, and hips
- Improves balance
- Mental Benefits:
- Cultivates poise and focus
- Calms the mind
Step by step Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Start by standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together. Place the arms by the sides, establish a smooth flowing breath, and wait for the internal signal to begin. When you’re ready, transfer all of the weight to the left foot and balance where it’s easiest. Take a deep breath.
As you exhale, bring the right leg up, placing the sole of the foot on the left inner thigh as far as possible, with the toes pointing down. Bring palms together in a namaste, prayer position.
Stabilize the balance before refining the alignment. It has many helpers:
- Fully extend the toes and rest the left foot firmly on the floor. Get down on the ground, sink into the earth, and let the weight of the body sink down into that leg. It is the point of contact with the ground, the foundation of the pose. Take root, be firm. The more you allow the weight to sink into the foot, the more certain the balance will be.
- Look at something that isn’t moving, then don’t let the mind move. Grab that point with eyes and mind. Maintain a steady, soft gaze and clear focus, this will concentrate the mind, due to which balance will be easy.
- Breathe with awareness, producing a smooth, uniform sound; An erratic breath will upset the balance.
- Stand with the right knee lightly touching the wall.
Refine the alignment and establish energy flow through the lines. Ideally, you want the abdominal floor to be straight out with the knee bent straight ahead, not bent in front as it is prone to. The main action of the asana is to flatten the pelvis.
First establish the alignment of the center. Bend the left leg very slightly — this will help you feel more grounded — then gently pull the abdominals back toward the spine and point the coccyx straight down (towards the left heel) so the sacrum becomes more vertical.
Slowly straighten the left leg without changing center alignment. Keeping the sole of the foot soft, press straight into the left foot. Root yourself in the earth, this establishes the first line of energy.
While inhaling, raise the hands above the head. Either place the palms together and extend the fingers upward, or join the fingers together, turn the hands in and press upwards with the palms. Breathe them out, it’s your second line of energy.
Remember the arm line departs from the center. So, lift the rib cage away from the waist, lengthen the waist, squeeze the elbows in toward each other, and extend the arms straight up in the direction the arms are pointing. If the arms are bent forward, point the energy line in that direction. It’s this outward-upward pull that will eventually bring them vertical. If the arms are already erect, try raising the elbows several inches above the ears and then bringing them back behind the ears, pulling them up. Keep pulling the shoulder blades back and pulling the navel back.
Check that the bottom of the abdomen is facing straight ahead. If necessary, move the right frontal hip bone forward until it is equal to the left. Also check that the chest is facing straight ahead; If necessary, bring the right side of the chest forward until it is equal to the left side.
Establish a third line of energy by pulling outward into the bent knee and leading back. Flex the right leg and press the heel into the left thigh, stretching the inner part of the right thigh toward the knee, and gently lower the right knee back. This is the action that will flatten the pelvis, however, do this without moving the body. Keep the supporting leg, the floor of the abdomen, and the chest facing straight ahead.
Now you’re simultaneously stretching in three directions: down, up, out. Take deep, smooth breaths and let the lines come to life. As you inhale, press down into the supporting leg, reach up with hands, and pull out and back through the bent knee, which is where you are now. As you exhale, pull the navel backwards towards the spine and release it out in all three directions. Stay here for 60 seconds.
It is a simple pose, but the ability to flatten the pelvis releases tension in this area. While exhaling, bring the hands and feet down. Stand still for a few moments, then repeat these steps with other side.
Modifying Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- On the Calf:
- Try with your foot on your calf instead of the inner thigh.
- Especially avoid placing your foot on your inner knee if you have any knee pain, arthritis, or injury.
- With Kickstand:
- Try with your toes on the ground and your raised leg pressed against your ankle in a kickstand.
- Your hands can be in any position, including the heart center simultaneously.
- In Chair:
- Try this version sitting on a chair.
- Bring one leg forward with the knee mostly straight.
- Opening your hips, bring the other knee to the side.
- You can use a block under your raised leg or simply bring that ankle up to the opposite calf.
- Your arms can be raised in a large V-shape.
- Hold several breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Contraindications of Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Tree Pose (Vrksasana) can challenge many in the initial disturbances in the flow of energy in the body. Therefore it should be done with proper care and clear instructions. However, there are several precautions to keep in mind while teaching this yoga pose, and these are explained below:
1. Injury and surgery
Being a hip opener, it also puts pressure on the knees, ankles and shoulders, students with any kind of injury related to these joints should avoid this practice altogether. In addition, if individuals are recovering from surgery related to any part of the joints mentioned recently, or are also recovering from surgery related to an internal organ, they should avoid the practice of this yoga pose. However, using a chair, a block can be considered, provided the individual is comfortable with balance.
2. Sickness and physical strength
Since this yoga pose demands some basic strength in the muscles of the legs, hips and back, individuals with issues related to the physical body should slow it down or even avoid this exercise. Certain conditions, such as vertigo, migraine, arthritis in the hips or knees, history of hip replacement, or any other condition that is contraindicated, should be considered during the practice of tree pose. Additionally, people who are recovering from a prolonged illness or illness and were confined to their bed for a long period of time should then begin with such balance-making, with care and precaution.
3. Lack of body-breath connections
Tree Pose (Vrksasana) demands awareness and focus. Without proper knowledge of the body-breathing connection, practice can cause disturbances in energy levels and completely defeat the purpose of the practice. Therefore, students should not be made aware of this practice until they are fully prepared. However, Easy Beginner Tree Pose (Vrksasana) can be considered with very clear instructions.
4. Senior Citizen and Prenatal
Senior citizens can practice this yoga pose, care should be taken to guide them with clear instructions. Initially the use of a chair or wall should be encouraged. Additionally, care must be taken to avoid prolonging the posture, included in prenatal yoga sequences. When peak poses are included in yoga sequences, care must be taken to ensure that the body is well warmed, including breath awareness.