Updated: Sep 11
Tree pose (vrksasana in sanskrit) is one of the most famous balancing yoga postures there is. A quick search on Google will present you with hundreds of people doing their best tree pose on beaches, in woodlands, up mountains and even in city streets.
Tree pose has a number of benefits. Having to balance encourages you to concentrate, boosting your mental focus. Tree pose also builds strength in your standing leg, while strengthening the arches in your feet.
It looks super graceful, but perfecting this pose takes a lot of practice. Take a look at the tips below to help you root down into the earth and blossom into a beautiful tree.
How to improve your tree pose
Steady your gaze
Balancing will prove challenging if your eyes are flitting around the room. Instead, fix your gaze on a steady point on the floor, roughly about 8ft in front of you. Keep your gaze here throughout the pose.
Concentration is also key. You might notice that you lose your balance as soon as your mind starts to wander. Don't worry if this happens. The more you practice, the more you'll develop your ability to focus for longer periods of time.
In time, you might notice that you're better able to concentrate on tasks even when you're not on your mat too.
Adapt the pose for your body
There are a number of options when it comes to finding a tree pose that suits your body best.
Option one: Bring your heel just above the ankle of your standing leg, keeping your toes on the floor.
Option two: Bring the sole of your foot onto the shin of your standing leg
Option three: Bring the sole of your foot onto your thigh of your standing leg
Option four: Bring your foot at the top of your thigh on your standing leg, close to your groin.
Never place your foot onto your knee of the standing leg as this puts the joint at risk.
The great thing about tree is that there's plenty of room for progression.
Focus on your breath
Bring your awareness back to your breath. Focussing on your inhalation and exhalation will help to keep your mind in the present moment.
Find a comfortable position for your hands
Standing on one leg can be challenging enough without having to lift your hands over your head too. The good news is that there are plenty of options when it comes to your hand position in tree.
If you have shoulder issues or low blood pressure, keep your hands in a prayer position at your chest. This is much easier on the shoulders and you can focus on keeping your balance in the pose instead.
The next step is to lift your hands over your head. You can either keep your palms together in a prayer position (crossing your thumbs will help to keep your arms straighter), or if this feels too tight for your shoulders, keep the palms shoulder-width apart.
Feature adapted from Amy Samantha Yoga