|Meaning||Vriks - Tree
Asana - posture
|Pose Type||Standing & Balancing pose|
|Pose Level||Beginner - Hold 1 minute on each leg|
|Focus Muscles||Feet, ankles, thighs, chest and shoulders|
When you see the nature surrounding you, what in it is the calmest, still and the most patient living thing? You will found, trees are only living entity that holds these qualities.
Trees are calm, patient and rooted in such a manner that they face any weather conditions with the same stillness. They always remain calm whether in hot, cold, rain or any kind of weather condition.
These qualities of a tree are also important for humans. A person should be calm, still, and rooted. In Yoga, there are various methods to attain this quality of mind. One of these methods is Vrikshasana or the Tree Pose.
Vrikshasana – The Tree Pose
Vrikshasana is one of the well-known, standing and balancing poses of Hatha Yoga. It is one of the 32 asanas mentioned in Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā.
Unlike most of the Yoga Asanas, this asana is done with open eyes. As this asana requires to maintain the balance of the whole body in one foot, therefore, we do this asana with open eyes. Here we stand straight and tall, like an elegant stance of a tree, but only with one leg.
In this asana, our body looks like a tree/Vriksha or stance of a tree. So, therefore, we call it Tree Pose or Vrikshasana.
It is believed that the great sage Bhagirath did Tapasya (penance) in Vrikshasana for 1000 years to bring the divine river Ganga to Earth. This fact is enough to display the significance of this asana.
How to Do the Tree Pose
“Stand straight on one leg, bending the right leg and placing the right feet on the left thigh: standing thus like a tree on the ground, is called Tree Posture” – Gheranda Samhita 2.36
Performing Vrikshasana is very easy. On following the below steps, you can easily come into the pose:
- Stand straight and tall, as in Tadasana.
Getting Into the Vrikshasana
- From tadasana, bend the right leg at the knees and place its heal at the root of the left leg’s thigh. Your sole should be firmly pressed and flat on your thigh, toes pointing downwards.
- Balance the body weight over the left foot and evenly distribute it on toe balls, heals, the inner and outer part of the foot.
- Now, make your arms straight and raise them over the head. Then join the palms of both hands, over your head. The hands will look like Namaste posture.
- Gaze straight and concentrate on a single thing. Breathe deeply for the flow of Prana in your body.
Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, according to your comfort.
Coming Out of Vrikshasana
- When you are done, separate your palms and bring the arms down.
- Now, slowly release the right leg and straighten it and relax. You have to do all this with an exhalation. Here you will come to Tadasana again.
The above process was done with your right leg up and left leg straight. Now, after a couple of breaths, repeat it with left leg up and right leg straight.
You have to repeat the whole process 5 times with the right leg and 5 times with the left leg.
Imagine yourself as a tree. Your head is towards the sun and your feet are firmly rooted on the ground. Try to be calm and rooted like a tree.
Sense the joy of calmness and stillness of the asana. Feel the positive vibrations of your roots and imagine the base of your existence.
If you are a beginner, you might feel difficulty in maintaining the balance in one foot. So, you can take the help of the wall in this case. Just stand in front of a wall and perform this asana, taking the support of the wall.
In the beginning, it is not easy to place your foot at the upper thigh. So, it’s okay if you place your foot at the lower thigh of the other leg.
Avoid Vrikshasana in Following Conditions:
- A person suffering from insomnia, headache or migraine.
- Someone having a recent injury in legs, shoulders, arms or spine.
Don’ts for Vrikshasana
- Do not overstretch your leg. Understand the limits of your body and stretch accordingly.
- Do not place the sole of the raised leg on the knee on another leg. Place it at least on the lower thigh.
- Do not bend your spine forward or backward. Keep it straight and stretched.
Mainly Vrikshasana is a balancing asana, so, it teaches us to balance our body and mind. It helps in maintaining stability, stillness, and calmness in the body and improves mental functions. Here is a list of its benefits at the physical and spiritual levels.
- It engages various muscles of the body, thus, helps in the overall flexibility of the body.
- This asana stretched the spine gently, so it helps in the flexibility and strength of the spine.
- In this asana, we stretch the muscles of thighs and calves. It tones the ligaments and tendons of the feet and strengthens the leg muscles.
- As the Tree Pose tones the muscles of hips and hamstrings, so, its regular practice prevents pain in these areas such as Sciatica 1
- It maintains the body balance equally throughout the whole foot, therefore, it is helpful in curing Flat Feet 2.
- This asana engages the muscles of the shoulders and arms, thus tones them and increases their strength.
- In Vrikshasana, practitioners have to expand their chests. It helps in the proper expansion of the diaphragm and thus, helps in proper respiration.
- Through the stretch and contraction on the region at the base of the spine, Vrikshasana increases the flow of prana to the Mooldhara Chakra region. Thus, it helps to stimulate Mooldhara Chakra.
- In soothes the brain nerves and improves your mood.
- It gradually increases the confidence and self-esteem of the practitioner.
- For whom Vrikshasana is most beneficial?
People like traffic policemen, gatekeepers, etc, who spend a lot of time standing or walking must perform the Tree Pose. This asana will help them to spread weight evenly throughout their feet. It will help in reducing pain in the feet and knees, after a prolonged standing period. Also, Athletes and sportsperson must perform this asana to strengthen their thighs and feet.
- Is Vrikshasana suitable for someone having high blood pressure?
A person suffering from high blood pressure can perform Vrikshasana but, under a condition. If you are suffering from High Blood Pressure, do not raise your hands in this asana. Instead, bring your arms forward, and join the palms at the chest, as in Anjali Mudra.
- Can I place feet of my raised leg below the knee of another leg?
Yes, in some cases, you can. But, make sure it should not be placed much below the knee because it will eliminate most of the stretch on the legs. Also, do not place your feet just on the knee, as it can hurt your knee. Again you are advised to try to place the heel of the raised leg at the upper or at lest lower thigh.
- Can I perform Vrikshasana on a daily basis?
Sure, you can add Vrikshasana to your daily routine. If you attain yoga sessions, you can practice this asana their also. It will always be beneficial for you.