Vriksasana (Tree Pose). Is not an easy pose due to balance as well as strength since all the bodies weight is on one leg. Called Tree Pose because the foot is rooted like roots of a tree and the upper body and arms continue moving to maintain balance like the limbs and leaves of a tree.
Benefits of Vriksasana: Improves balance and stability in the legs, pelvic stability, strengthens the bones of the hips, legs and feet. When balance is achieved you will also gain self confidence.
When in Vriksasana the body is using lots of muscles that contract and relax continuously to help with balance. Also this pose requires the integration of the whole body to work together as one, mentally and physically to maintain balance. Of all poses I’d say more is going on with this pose then any other. With so many things going on the brain is forced to stay in the moment.
Come into the pose from standing with the feet together arms at your side and shoulders relaxed. Ground or root through your right foot. Place your hands on your hips, bend the left knee and place the sole of the foot on the right leg at the inner ankle, calf or thigh whichever location you can hold your balance in, but not the knee. The toes of the left foot point down with the knee open to the side. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Once you have established your balance place your hands over your heart center with palms together. If comfortable take your arms over your head. If shoulders are tight the arms will be in a V over your shoulders.
Find a gazing point, soften the belly to allow the breath to come in without resistance, tense the buttocks to help keep the hip points forward and the knee open to the side. Keep the spine elongated and lengthen the leg of the rooted foot. Avoid the temptation to let the hip of the standing leg sink. Have the chin parallel to the floor and relax the body. Breathe evenly with a long breathe not to deep and hold the pose 15 – 30 seconds. If your tight 15 seconds is plenty and if flexible and have balance you can hold for a minute or longer if you choose. I hold the pose 40 to 60 seconds. To come out of the pose release the arms and leg, down to standing. Repeat on the other side.
If your not comfortable with balance poses like I was when I started. Actually, I would fall out every time. Use props; wall, chair, table to lean against and over time you will get to know your body where it is in the pose and make the subtle adjustments to keep your balance.
Tips: Do not place the sole of the foot on the knee if you do over time you will loosen the knee and start having issues. I find if I rush the pose my body is tense and I fall out, so I’ll relax my jaw and the relaxation melts down through the rest of my body. This seems to help me get into a relaxed state and balance is achieved and it feels great. Also the more solid the standing surface the easier it is to balance.
Sorry about the poor video, I’ll be getting a video camera soon.
Enjoy the journey to discovering your balance.
Healthy & Happy,