Root Down & Rise Up:
By regularly practicing balancing poses, you gain concentration, focus, poise, coordination — and a steady and balanced mind. Tree pose connects you to the Earth’s stabilizing energy as you root down through your standing foot. As you balance in the pose, feel the slight and gentle sway of your body. Just like a tree in the breeze, you’ll grow in confidence, standing tall as you face life’s challenges with grace and ease!
Modifications & Variations:
Practicing Tree Pose can be a great way to cultivate and sustain the practice of balance, grace, and poise on and off of the mat — for beginners and advanced students. Try these simple changes to adapt the pose to your current abilities:
- If you are unable to bring your foot to your thigh, rest your foot alongside your calf muscle or the ankle of your standing leg, instead. Rest the toes of your raised foot on the floor if you need extra assistance balancing.
- If you are very unsteady, try practicing the pose with your back against a wall for extra support. Alternatively, you can place a chair next to the standing-leg side of your body and rest your hand on the back of the chair for extra support.
- For a greater challenge when your arms are overhead, close your eyes. Practice balancing without using the outside world for reference.
Tips for Beginners:
- In order to fully gain the meditative benefits of Tree Pose, it’s important to stay grounded and calm in the pose, while still maintaining alignment.
- Take your time. As with any balancing pose, it’s often easier to come into the pose slowly and with awareness. If you enter the pose quickly, you are more likely to lose your balance, which makes it more difficult to regain your balance once it’s been lost.
- Work the pose from the ground up. Transition your weight into your standing leg and foot — across the inner and outer ankles, big toe and baby toe. Then, bring your awareness to the shin, calf, and thigh of your standing leg. Find alignment in your hips, tailbone, pelvis, and belly; and then in your collarbones, shoulder blades, arms, and neck. Extend the pose through the crown of your head. Keep your hands together in prayer at the center of your chest, or, raise your arms overhead.
- Never rest the foot of your raised leg directly on your knee or at the side of your knee joint! Not only would this be unstable, it also applies weight and pressure on your knee joint.
- To help with balancing, bring your awareness to the center line of your body — the vertical line that runs directly through the center of your head, neck, and torso. In yoga, this is called the “mid-line”. By drawing your attention to your mid-line, you’re recruiting strength through muscular engagement and stability through energetic engagement.
Benefits of Tree Pose:
Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
Stretches the groins, inner thighs, chest, and shoulders
Improves physical balance and mental concertation