Step-by-Step Yoga Pose: Tree Pose

Seasons are in flux and you may find yourself swept away by all of the change surrounding you. That’s why it’s an ideal time of year to launch a grounding self-care practice. We’re excited to introduce our Yoga Pose series to inspire you to root and rise. Check back each week for a new yoga pose to aspire to!

Tree Pose
Aliases: Vrksasana (vrksa = tree, asana* = pose); Eka pada pranamasana (one-legged prayer pose)*

Why Tree?
Think about how a tree looks. Trees are both strong and flexible. Their roots burrow deep into the earth while branches reach up to the sun, reminding us to stay rooted when change abounds while bending as necessary. By practicing Tree Pose you can:

  • Strengthen leg, ankle and foot muscles
  • Gently tone arms and shoulders
  • Improve your ability to maintain balance and focus
  • Plus, there are modifications for any level of practitioner!

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Getting into the posture:

  • Start standing with feet placed hip-width apart
  • Pick one, unmoving point to focus on (drsti in Sanskrit)
  • Shift your weight to the left
  • Bend your right knee and open the right hip to the right
    • Bend your right knee and place it on the side of the left ankle, left shin or left thigh
  • Place right foot on the side of the left ankle, left shin or left thigh.
    • Start with what feels most comfortable and stable for you.
    • Use the hand to help the foot as needed
    • Avoid placing right foot on left knee in order to protect your knee
  • Bring hands together at chest level (Eka pada pranamasana)
  • If you feel balanced here, extend the arms overhead and separate the hands to shoulder-width apart (Vrksasana)
    • Focus: Relax the shoulders, rotate your pinkie fingers in, strengthen through left leg and gently pull your abdomen in.
  • Stay in pose for 15 seconds – 1 minute.
  • To exit the pose, release arms down to your sides.
  • Bring right knee back to center.
  • Release right foot back to the ground.
  • Repeat sequence on the other side, starting with the right foot on the ground.

Tree1

Variations/Modifications:

  • Stand near a wall or railing and use it to help with balance.
  • Do the pose laying on your back—you will feel the stretch in the hip and arms.
  • Advanced practitioners: Play with different arm variations or close your eyes.

Contraindications (i.e., things to keep in mind):

  • Do not raise arms above head if you feel lightheaded.
  • Exit the pose if you feel dizzy or pained (feeling your muscles work is ok—sharp pain is not)
  • Above all else listen to what your body needs and can handle.

Hopefully you feel balanced and refreshed after Tree Pose. Practice up to 5x/week and enjoy!

*The term asana means “posture/pose” in the physical yoga practice.

Natalie Sober is a yoga enthusiast who is inspired to share her knowledge. Natalie completed her first RYT-200 hour yoga teacher training course in Telkot, Nepal, in the Sanatan style of yoga. She is currently pursuing her second RYT-200 certification in the Power Vinyasa style. She also happens to be the newest member of Pharmaca’s marketing department.

*Please consult your physician before beginning this series or any exercise program. As always, your body is the best teacher so listen to the cues it gives regarding whether or not a pose is a good idea. 

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