How to do Vrksasana, Tree Pose: yoga balance pose
Vrksasana – The roots of a tree provide the foundation for its body and branches, so our feet and legs provide the support for our upper body to stand with strength and grace. Balance poses demonstrate our state of mind. Focus is necessary to maintain a steady balance if the mind is jumping from one thought to another.
1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and draw your awareness to your feet. Gradually transfer the weight to your right foot. Spread the toes and make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Visualise the sole of your right foot rooted to the earth.
2. If you find balancing difficult place the ball of your left foot on top of the right foot. Pressing down makes balancing easier, lightly placing the foot on top makes it more difficult.
3. Place the left foot on the inside of the right knee. The raised knee points out to the side.
4. Place the sole of the raised foot on the inside of the supporting thigh. Push both legs together. Be careful not to push the supporting hip out to the side and out of alignment. Work the raised knee back, opening the hip.
5. Bring the palms together in front of the chest. Shoulders down and back. Lift and spread the chest.
6. When steady in position 1, keep the hands together and raise the arms over the head with the elbows bent. Work on bringing the elbows back while keeping palms together and shoulders down.
7. Eventually you will be able to keep the hands together over the head and straighten the elbows. Hold steady and breathe deelply.
Coming out of the pose
- It’s important to come out of the pose slowly and smoothly in order to maintain the benefit of a balance pose. Slowly lower the arms, then the leg.
- Take the weight off your supporting leg and gently wiggle to relieve the tension and relax the muscles. To begin with, hold the pose for 20–30 seconds. Repeat, standing on the left foot.
Gaze: Forward to infinity.
- Restful Deep Forward Fold, Uttanasana
- For easier balance, take the raised foot lower down on the supporting leg lower down on the supporting leg, possibly even with the big toe lightly touching the floor.
- Use the wall to aid balance if necessary.
Vrksasana, Tree Pose counter pose
In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.