Tree Pose (Vrksasana) Standing Balance/ Hip Opener
Your body ~ Your yoga Before you move, remember to form an intention. A helpful intention is to:
Wake up sensations in the body
Notice them with a special kind of attention
Respond to them in a way you find helpful
Be ready to move responsively to find the variation of Tree Pose that suits your body. Once you find it, Tree Pose can be a joy to engage with. It's a nice pose to start your day with, early in the morning. Or to add the challenge of a standing balance to your sequence, after some Sun Salutations and Standing Poses.
Tree Pose is helpful for...
Working with your sense of balance
Working with the external rotation of your hip joints individually
Strengthening muscles of the ankles, legs and back
Lengthening the spine
Developing focus and concentration
Step by step From Mountain pose...
• Find your Drishti: Gaze at a point at eye level, to help you to keep your balance.
• Shift your weight onto your left leg. Ground through the four corners of your left foot.
• Bend your right knee, reach down with your right hand and clasp your ankle.
• Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the inside of your left leg either above or below your knee joint. Press your knee back, so your knee points out to the side.
• Press your foot against your inner thigh, and your inner thigh back into your foot.
• Keep your core muscles engaged.
• Firm your left hip in. Lengthen your spine. Soften your shoulders. Tuck your chin slightly in and back.
• Bring your hands in front of your heart in Prayer Position (Anjali Mudra). Or you can lift your arms up to the ceiling. You hands can remain shoulder-width apart.
• Stay in this pose for five breaths or more.
• Lower your leg and arms down as you exhale, and take a moment in Tadasana. • Repeat on the other side.
Beginners tips • Keep the knee of your standing leg soft - do not lock the knee especially if you are hypermobile.
To help with your stability and balance:
• Spread through the toes and press the foot firmly into the floor but try not to clench your foot so that it can make small movements to help keep your balance.
• Engage the muscles of the leg, hips, glutes.
• Maintain an active core.
Enquiry: Discovering how you feel about the different arm positions available to you in Tree Pose
Arms extended by your sides, palms facing forward. Holding your arms close to your torso... then raised a little... then raised a little more.
Hands in Prayer Position, in front of the heart... relaxed... then drawing the wrists further down to release the underside of the forearms.
Hands in Prayer Position overhead, with elbows bent, shoulder blades drawing down the back, shoulders drawing away from the ears.
Hands in Prayer Position overhead, with your elbows extended, allowing the shoulder blades to rotate upwards and the shoulders to arrive near the ears.
Arms held wide over head, with elbows flexed or extended.
Cactus Arms, palms facing forward, raising and lowering left and right hands independently to assist with finding your balance.
Adjustments to explore
Keep your shoulder blades on your back, spread through your collarbones wide and release your shoulders away from your ears.
Try to stay relaxed. Focus on an even breath and finding the balance between steadiness and ease in the pose.
A note on using props You can help to stabilize yourself in Tree Pose by practicing with your back against a wall. Pressing your bent knee towards the back wall as you press the opposite shoulder toward the wall will help you find balance in the frontal plane - the plabe that divides the front of the body and the back of the body. Or you can stand with your side to the wall a short distance away and touching your hand to the wall to help steady yourself during a wobble.
Breath awareness in the pose
You can stay in Tree Pose for as long as is comfortable - several minutes, perhaps.
As you settle, grow more aware of sensations in the body, heart and mind. Scan the body for tension. Invite tension to soften, release, relax and let go.
This is a wonderful place to heighten your awareness of how the breath is involved in a balancing challenge. We often hold our breath to begin with. Keep breathing!
Sense how each inhalation expands the ribcage. And each exhalation releases the ribs back down towards the waist.
Imagine breathing into and out from the basin of the pelvis, as if you could breathe through your own nerves and blood vessels right into that space.
Add an extra challenge to your balance by raising your gaze to the ceiling or by closing your eyes.
Try Tree Pose standing on an uneven surface, like a folded blanket or folded mat - this will challenge your balance even more and strengthen the small muscles in the ankles and feet.
You could explore a more challenging bound Tree Pose. Bring your right foot into Half Lotus. Wrap the right arm behind you and hook your big toe with thumb and forefingers. From here you can fold forward into Half Bound Lotus Standing Forward Bend (Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana) .
Beginners Option Mountain Pose Tadasana
Transition Dancer's Pose Natarajasana
Advanced Option Extended Hand To Big Toe Pose A-B Utthita Hasta Padangustasana A-B
If you have any questions about Lotus Leaf Yoga, please don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll be happy to help. firstname.lastname@example.org text: 07 514 777 777