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Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

With this post, we will begin discussion of some of the balancing poses that are commonly practiced. We will start with the Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) (वृक्षासन) which is one of the most commonly practiced one-leg balancing poses. Here are some of the benefits that are common to all one-leg balancing poses.


tree pose

  1. Develop better coordination and harmony between different parts of the body
  2. Develop a sense of calm, mental stability and patience
  3. Remove stress and nervousness and bring about a state of mental equanimity
  4. Since one of the legs is doing the work of two legs in supporting the weight of the body, this supporting leg gets strengthened.
  5. They help develop not just physical balance, but also a deep sense of mental focus and concentration

The Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) is a relatively simple pose to practice and yet provides all the benefits of the one-leg balancing poses.

Step-by-Step

(click on the blue arrow for audio instructions)

  1. From the standing pose, lift the right foot up, shifting all the weight into the left leg. Turn the right knee all the way to the right resting the sole of the foot against the left thigh.
  2. Fix your gaze at some point in front of you, on the floor or the wall in front. Slowly slide the right foot up the left leg, only as high up as you can maintain your balance. When you feel that you are balanced here, slowly bring the palms together in the prayer position in front of the heart.
  3. Keep gazing at your focal point in front. Keep the left leg strong pressing the foot flat into the floor. Try to maintain the right knee bent at 90 degrees towards the right side. The shoulders are relaxed and rolled back and the chest is pressing forward.
  4. If you feel very balanced here, try the next stage by inhaling the arms over the head. Join the palms together with the thumbs crossed, stretch the elbows straight and pull the arms upward..
  5. Hold the position for 6-8 breaths, if comfortable.
  6. To come out of the pose, slowly exhale the arms down and then release the legs back into a standing position.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Half-lotus Variation


    Half-lotus tree pose

  1. In this variation, instead of placing the sole of the foot against the thigh, place the foot on top of the opposite thigh in the half-lotus position. Try to keep the foot as high up the thigh as comfortable.
  2. Try to lower the bent knee as far as you can.
  3. Follow the rest of the instructions as above for the regular tree pose.

Modifications

  1. If you have trouble maintaining balance, you may take the support of the wall.
  2. When balancing on the left leg, turn sideways alongside the wall, with the right knee gently touching the wall. It is the knee that will provide you support for balance.
  3. When balancing on the right leg, turn around and use the left knee against the wall for support.
  4. As you become more comfortable in the position, you may attempt to move the knee away from the wall and try to maintain balance.

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