Pose Breakdown: Tree

We're back with another pose breakdown today.  We're going to step into the realm of balancing poses today with a posture that is easily modifiable for all levels: tree pose (vrksasana).  This pose challenges you to balance on one leg, but allows for variety in the placement of the leg acting as a branch so that you can pick a stance that works for you on a particular day.

 A strong balance posture!

A strong balance posture!

How to get into Tree Pose

  1. Start standing tall in mountain pose (tadasana).  Feel the earth under your feet and a strong foundation moving up your legs into your hips.  You should be able to lift your toes up off the mat and maintain your balance.
  2. Ground firmly through the left foot as you inhale the right knee up in front of you.  Once you feel steady here, begin to open the right knee to the outside of your body.
  3. Once you feel steady with the knee open to the right, you can bring the right foot in towards the standing left leg.  See where you can get it to land without using your hand to help pull it up higher.
  4. Check to make sure it isn't pressing directly into your knee joint.  The right foot should land above or below the knee.
  5. Your hands can do a variety of things.  For centering, bring the hands to your heart.  To open your chest, grab opposite elbows behind you.  For growth and additional challenge, raise the arms up like branches.
  6. Hold for several rounds of breath, making sure to press firmly into the standing leg so the hips stay even.  Then exhale the right foot back down to the mat and repeat on the opposite side.
 Hands at your heart can bring a centering feeling to the pose.

Hands at your heart can bring a centering feeling to the pose.

 

How to modify Tree Pose

 

  1. Use the same steps to get into the pose as outlined above.  As you ground through the standing left foot, bring the right foot in to balance at the ankle of the left.  Use the right toes to press down as roots into the mat to help you hold your balance.
  2. You can choose any variety of stances for your arms, as listed out in number 5 above.

Practice using tree pose while you stand in your kitchen cooking, or watching your kiddos games from the sidelines.  It's a great way to build balance and stability in your body!