One of my favourite asanas when I want to feel grounded. Vrksasana (pronounced vrik-shas-uh-nah) or Tree pose is a balancing asana. Resembling a tree standing tall and strong, tree pose stretches the inner thighs, groin and shoulders while simultaneously strengthening the thigh, calf, core and foot muscles. It’s also beneficial for strengthening and improving your posture. Tree pose helps to cultivate patience and mental focus and concentration.
Vrksa = tree
Asana = seat/pose
🌟 Philosophy & Origin
In many Hindu and Buddhist traditions, trees are symbols of love and devotion. Many native cultures use trees for healing, making use of their branches, trunks, leaves and roots to create medicines.
Patient by nature, trees are strong and steady, living long lives in sync with the seasons and the circadian rhythm of the natural world.
🌟 Physical Benefits
Stretches your inner thighs and groin.
Strengthens your thighs, calves, core, and feet muscles.
Improves and strengthens your posture.
🌟 Energetic Benefits
Calms your mind
Relaxes your central nervous system
🌟 Step by Step
1. Begin in mountain pose (tadasana). Shift your weight to your left foot, and bring the sole of your right foot to your inner left leg, toes pointing toward the ground.
2. Your foot can be placed at your ankle, calf, or inner thigh.
3. To maintain balance, press through all four corners of your left foot, especially the mound of your big toe.
4. With hips squared and facing forward, lengthen through your lower belly and torso.
5. Press the sole of your right foot firmly into your left leg.
6. Bring your hands together at your heart center in prayer position. Relax your shoulders. Focus your drishti (gaze) forwards on one point.
7. Work on staying in the pose for 1 minute before returning to mountain pose. Take several deep breaths before repeating on other side.
🌟 Modifications & Helpful Tips
1. If you have difficulty keeping your raised foot in place, adjust your clothing so that your foot makes contact directly with your skin.
2 Trouble balancing? Try placing one hand against a wall or chair for extra support.
3. Arm variations: Try bringing your arms overhead or bring your hands behind your back in reverse prayer for a shoulder and chest opening variation.
4. If you experience high blood pressure, keep your hands at your sides or in prayer position at your heart rather than raising them over your head.
5. Fix your drishti (gaze point) to one point to maintain balance.
6. Try the posture with eyes closed for additional balance challenge!
🌟 Contra Indications & Cautions
Late term pregnancy (as balance may be compromised due to a shifting centre of gravity to accommodate a growing belly).
Vertigo or medical conditions that affect balance.
High blood pressure