Trees are powerful symbols of spiritual and physical growth. They show us that life is impermanent and cyclic. Because, from tiny acorns to mighty oaks grow. Trees bend and flow with their environment, while remaining strongly rooted to the earth. Learn how to do tree pose.
In this step by step tutorial of vrksasana, tree pose, you’ll discover modifications and variations to make tree pose more accessible. Including using a chair for support. Also included are alignment tips & tricks for the hips, feet, and arms. Level up your yoga practice by pressing play today!
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How to do tree pose
When looking at how to do tree pose there are a lot of things going on. It’s a balance pose, but also requires strength, stability, focus, and openness.
- From tadasana, transfer the weight into the right leg.
- Bend the left knee, bringing the foot into the right inner thigh. Allow the left knee to gently open to the left.
- Root down into the right foot, rise up through the crown of the head.
- Press the right thigh into the left foot, and the left foot into the right thigh.
- Reach the arms up overhead.
While it looks somewhat easy, for many it’s not. A major issue for some is getting the foot to the inner thigh. So, here’s how to do tree pose with modifications.
You can place the foot of the bent leg further down the standing leg. Maybe that means placing the sole of the foot to the inside edge of the opposite calf. On the other hand, you can try resting the ball of the foot on the floor and placing the heel of the bent leg onto the inside edge of the opposite ankle.
Vrksasana Balance Tips
If balance is a major issue in your tree pose, then use some support. Perhaps that’s having a wall or chair to hold on to.
To ensure your tree is strong and stable make sure to root down through the standing foot. Spread the toes. Root down through the foot, but rise up through the crown of the head.
Lengthen the trunk of your tree
When it comes to tree pose you can either have a tree that stands tall, or one that is passive and lacks energy. If you have a lackluster tree, as a result you’ll be less stable and prone to a falling tree.
One reason for this, for example could be that you shift your hips out to the side. As you can see (above left) my weight and hips are shift to the straight leg. Consequently, my weight is more on the outside edge of my standing foot, my balance is off and I’m likely to fall. In addition, it also makes the hip feel terrible! Instead search for symmetry of the pelvis. Forming a nice long line from the head, to the hips and heel.
Another tip to avoid the lean to one side is most people just think about the foot pushing into the thigh. If we only push the foot to the thigh, the standing leg will shift. Instead, think about the the foot pushing into the thigh, but equally push the thigh into the foot. Consequently, this will allow more strength and stability in the standing leg.
Is your tree twisted?
Notice in the video on how to do tree pose I never mentioned the bent leg pointing to the side? That’s because for some, it’s not going to! For some, having the knee point out to the side may lead to compensating by rotating the pelvis and torso to the corner.
Instead keep the pelvis and torso facing forward. Consequently, the knee may point more towards the corner as shown above. This is perfectly fine. Especially, if you’re like me and not that open in the hips.
Tree pose arm position
Traditionally the arms for tree reach out and up. Like branches, extending away from the body. However, just as with other poses the arms are optional, and have lots of variations. If reaching up is uncomfortable perhaps the hands rest at the heart in namaste.
Or a variety of other arm positions. Seriously, don’t get hung up on what the arms are doing. Especially when the rest of the body is much more pivotal to the pose.
In all, tree is a challenging yoga pose. It entails so much but balance and strength are the two key components. In the words of the Buddha, “Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect to your roots. Turn over a new leaf. bend before you break. Enjoy your natural unique beauty. Keep growing.”
- How is your balance?
- Do you enjoy tree pose?
- Can you be like a tree?