Tree
VRKSĀSANA (वृक्षासन)
(vrik-SHAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Vriksha’= tree, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Vriksasana
Vrikshasana

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Standing / Balance / Stretch / Strength

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs hip distance apart, keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward.
2. Shift your weight to the left leg, being sure not to hyperextend your knee. Spread your toes and root your foot into the mat.
3. When ready, bend your right knee and lift your foot so that the sole of your foot rests on the left inner thigh.
4. Rotate your right leg out to the side so that your knee is pointing to the right. Your heel should be close to your pelvis, with your toes pointing straight down to the mat, allowing your right foot to sit flat on your left inner thigh.
5. Keep your hips squared forward with your ears, shoulders, back, hips, and left knee in alignment. Tuck in your tailbone and lift the hips.
6. To help keep balance, lengthen through your spine and keep it straight as you engage your core to pull your navel to your spine. Gaze straight ahead at one fixed point.
7. Place your hands in Prayer Mudra in front of your heart center. Alternatively, you can either raise them over your head so that they are parallel to each other or place them in Jupiter Mudra or Venus Lock.
8. Hold this pose for several breaths (at least 20 seconds to increase strength)
9. Release back into Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
10. Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Neck strained / Shoulders up by the ears
• Foot placed on knee joint
• Bending or rotating the supporting leg/knee or twisting
• Leaning to one side / swaying
• Pushing the hips out / hips not squared forward
• Looking around or down instead of on one focal point
• Ears, shoulders, back, hips, and left knee not in alignment
• Not lengthening through the spine

Modifications
• Students who have tight calf muscles or hamstrings, lower back pain, or have trouble with alignment and/or balance, they can either: a) place their foot by their ankle with their toes touching the mat, b) hold their foot next to the calf muscle of the standing leg, c) practice with their foot on a chair or stool, d) place their hand on a chair or wall, or e) stand with their back to a wall.
• Another option to help with balance, is to place your hands on your hips, which helps support the lower body. Alternatively, you can extend your arms out to the side for more stability.
• If a student has trouble with their foot placed on the inner thigh slipping, they either: a) use one hand to hold their foot in place and the other hand to balance, b) practice in shorts so that the sole of the foot is on bare skin, or c) they can use a strap around the upper thigh and calf muscle to help keep the knee bent and from slipping on the thigh.
• Pregnant students should practice with their foot on a chair. During the third trimester and later however, or if your students have had a hip replacement, they should practice with their toes on the ground while their heel rests on the inside of the ankle. They can also reduce the rotation at the hips.
• Students with high blood pressure or shoulder injuries should practice with their hands in Prayer Mudra over their heart center or on their hips. They should not raise their hands over their head.
• For advanced students, they can practice with their eyes closed to test their balance. They can also practice Half Bound Lotus Tree Pose (Ardha Baddha Padma Vrksasana).

Counter Poses
• Corpse (Savasana)
• Reverse Corpse (Advasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana)
• Dancer I (Natarajasana I)
• Forward Bend, Standing Wide Leg (Prasarita Padottanasana)
• Mountain (Tadasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Abdomen and Obliques
• Hips (Psoas Minor, Iliopsoas)• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Knees• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the neck, chest, shoulders, spine, back, abdomen, groin, hips, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, knees, calf muscles, ankles, and feet. Increases range of motion in the hips.
• Opens the shoulders, chest, hips, and thighs.
• Improves balance, concentration, memory, focus, endurance, posture, and alignment as well as neuromuscular coordination. Also develops awareness.
• Helps relieve premenstrual symptoms.
• Relaxes the nervous system and improves circulation, which reduces fatigue, stress, and anxiety through concentration on balance.
• Relieves sciatica and lengthens the spine.

Contraindications
1. It is important to make sure to never place your foot on your knee.
2. Students who have injury to the hips, knees, or feet, have vertigo, arthritis, insomnia, low blood pressure, or a headache should avoid or modify this pose.
3. Students with high blood pressure should not raise their hands over their head.
4. Students in late term pregnancy should avoid this pose unless they seek proper guidance and use modifications.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.
Chakra Seven:Crown or Sahasrara (Thousandfold) Chakra. This is the understanding and consciousness chakra. Its goals are wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual connection. Its location is the top of the head.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Vrkshasana – Tree Pose”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the hands are together above the head (instead of in Prayer Mudra at heart center).
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Vrkshasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an example of how to practice this full asana without a variation.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “VRKSASANA – Tree Pose”.

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