Vrksasana aka the Tree Pose

tree pose
Image credits: Yayan Sopian via Unsplash

While you might not realize it, tree pose provides several benefits. Not only can it help to reduce sciatica but it’s also a great way to strengthen the lower ligaments, increase stability and improve your posture.

Exploring Tree Pose

Tree pose helps to stretch and strengthen the quadriceps, knees, hamstrings, and hips.

Additionally, it helps to open and activate chakras that include Muladhara (Root Chakra), Swadisthana (Sacral Chakra), Anahata (Heart Chakra) and Ajna (Third Eye Chakra).

Tree pose or Vrksasana is derived from the Sanskrit root words Vrksa (tree) and Asana (posture). Because you are standing on one leg in this asana, tree pose requires complete concentration as you are grounding your foot. Hence, we shouldn’t discount this pose or assume tree pose is not beneficial.

Benefits of Tree Pose

With tree pose, not only are you able to invigorate and rejuvenate your state of being but you can achieve more mental clarity. As you work on maintaining balance, you’ll also find that tree pose is good for correcting posture problems. These might include neck and back stiffness or shoulder and neck tightness.

If you need to strengthen your arms, shoulders, thighs and spine, you’ll find that tree pose is ideal for overall body alignment. Tree pose is an excellent way to increase stability and optimize your mind, body and soul connection. Hence, with tree pose, you should stand tall like a tree as you achieve balance and focus on maintaining control.

Because the tree pose is a base pose, you can use this pose with other variations. Tree pose is a great energy boost. You’ll also find that tree pose can be used in different types of flow yoga sessions. Tree pose can stretch the shoulders, torso, thighs and groin. Tree pose can also help to strengthen your core abdominal muscles, calves and ankles. As it helps to correct your posture, you should note that tree pose is good for improving balance and working on coordination.

Tips and Recommendations with Tree Pose

With Vrikshasana, you’ll want to work on your breath awareness. Ideally, holding your pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths is the goal (3-8 for beginners). However, it may take time to build up to this. Breathing during tree pose can help to increase the flow of oxygen into your muscles especially as you stretch.

To help you maximize the energy flow with Vrikshasana, take a couple of breaths when you are in the standing position and as you relax your body. Stretch your arms high above your head and then form a Namaste as you breathe in. Put your left foot on the inside of your right thigh (not directly onto your knee or knee cap to avoid injury). Exhale in the pose and work on your deep breathing rhythmically for the full 5-10 breaths.

During the stretch, when you exhale, stretch further upward to give a deeper stretch to your calves and stomach muscles. Exhale as you release the pose and lower your arms. Come back into Tadasana (Mountain pose) and shake your limbs out to loosen any stiffness. Then repeat with your other leg or continue with your routine.

Precautions with Tree Pose

Vrksasana is not recommended for those with high blood pressure or those who might suffer from vertigo or have insomnia, experience dizziness or have migraine headaches. You also don’t want to practice Vrksasana if you have any type of knee or ankle pain or have had recent surgery on the knees or ankles.

Don’t attempt this pose by yourself or without proper instruction as you might inadvertently put your weight directly onto the knee of your standing leg. Doing so is an incorrect posture which can cause shin and knee pain.

Dos and Don’ts with Vrikshasana

Are you interested in the benefits of tree pose? Or, do you want to learn about how to do tree pose? You’ll find that there are certain dos and don’ts with tree pose.

These include:

Dos…

  • DO this pose to tone and strengthen your leg muscles and relieve sciatica.
  • DO this pose to increase your coordination and balance.
  • DO this pose as a full-body warm-up for other poses.
  • DO this pose to calm your mind and improve your concentration.
  • DO attempt this pose again and don’t give up. Attempting this pose as a beginner, you might find that it’s hard to maintain your balance but keep trying. To help maintain your balance, instead of raising your arms, try putting your hands on your chest. Doing this can help you to learn how to build your balance – and confidence over time.

Don’ts…

  • DON’T practice this type of asana if you have insomnia, migraine headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure or knee or ankle pain.
  • DON’T do this exercise without a mirror or the instructions of the yogi or yogini who can help you maintain and correct your posture.
  • DON’T stand on your foot incorrectly by turning out the foot. This can cause a misalignment in your knee and hip.
  • DON’T place your foot directly onto the knee of your standing leg. You want to keep it above or below your knee or on the inside of your standing leg. This can help to protect your standing leg and the knee joints and muscles for that standing leg.

Tree pose yoga is not difficult but it does require balance and concentration. Only practice tree pose yoga under the instruction or direction of an experienced yogi or yogini.

If you are a beginner, when you start this pose, to increase your balance, raise your arms away from each other. This can help you maintain the pose and increase control. When you practice this asana, you want to eventually bring your arms together to Namaskara or Namaste.

FAQs

What are the Benefits of Tree Pose?

Tree pose invigorates your state of being and improves your mental clarity. It’s also good for correcting posture problems and reducing shoulder, neck and back tightness or stiffness.

Is Tree Pose Difficult?

Tree pose yoga is not difficult but it requires deep concentration and balance. To help increase your balance, for example, raise your arms up and away from each other to maintain your balance. Then bring your arms together to Namaste.

How Long Should You Do the Tree Pose?

Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths or 3-8 for beginners. It’s also important to work on your breathing to increase the oxygen flow to your muscles. Take a couple of breaths while standing to relax your body. Then raise your arms over your head and go into Namaste while you inhale. Place your left foot on the inner side of the right thigh, but not directly on the knee cap to avoid injury. Exhale and do your deep breathing for 5-10 breaths or 3-8 breaths.

Who Should Not Do the Tree Pose?

Vrksasana is not recommended if you have elevated blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, insomnia, vertigo or dizziness. Avoid this pose if you have ankle or knee pain or recently had an injury or surgery.

Dos and Don’ts of Vrikshasana?

A few dos and don’ts can help with tree pose. These include. Do this pose to tone your leg muscles and alleviate sciatica. Do it to increase your balance and coordination, improve concentration and as a warm-up before other asanas.

Don’t do this pose if you suffer from dizziness, headaches, insomnia, low blood pressure or knee or ankle pain. Don’t do this pose without the help of an experienced yogi or yogini who can ensure you use the correct posture. And, don’t turn your foot out to avoid a knee or hip misalignment. You also don’t want to put your foot directly onto your knee cap but place it above or below your knee to protect sensitive joints.