Vrikshasana - The Tree Pose

Tree Pose — Vrikshasana

With its roots grounded deep in the earth and its branches reaching out to the sky, the tree symbolizes the equilibrium between polar opposites. Finding balance in Vrikshasana can help to align these two extremes in life, the worldy matters and the freedom of spirit. This gentle pose opens the hips and shoulders, strengthens the feet and legs, and increases concentration. It is one of very few ancient standing poses which derives from the early scriptures of Hatha Yoga, and it is a powerful way to align clarity of mind with the insight of the heart.

POSE TYPE
Standing pose

POSE CATEGORY
Extension
Balancing
Hip Opener

ORIGIN
Gheranda Samhita

SANSKRIT
Vrikshasana
वृक्षासन

PRONUNCIATION
vrik-SHAHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Tree (Vriksha)
Pose (Asana)

Performance

STARTING
Feet parallel, legs straight, knee joints unlocked.

ENTERING
Stand stable on both legs. Slowly lift the right leg with awareness. Bring the right thigh up, parallel to the floor, while bending the right knee. Turn the right knee sideways and place the right sole on the top of the inner left thigh. The left leg remains firm and straight.
Place the hands in front of the chest at the level of the heart, palms facing and touching each other in Namaste.
Keep the spine vertical, the chest open, and the shoulders relaxed.
Draw the right knee backward as much as possible, while keeping the hips square. Lengthen through the crown of the head, while pointing the tailbone downward.
The head is in line with the spine in a neutral position. The eyes are open, with the gaze fixed on a chosen spot at the level of the forehead.

RELEASING
First move the right knee back in front of the body, and release the right leg down to return to a stable standing position on both legs. Then lower the arms down beside the body.

ALTERNATING
Repeat for the same duration with the opposite leg lifted, while hands and arms remain in the same position in front of the chest.

VARIATION
The arms may be stretched straight up toward the ceiling, parallel to each other, palms facing, or the palms touch together forming an inverted V with the arms.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
- Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine.
- Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders.

ENERGETIC
- The Heart Chakra and the Third Eye Chakra are activated.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
- Stabilizes the mind and increases concentration.
- Improves sense of balance.

Contra-Indications

- Students with knee injuries use the variation
- Pregnancy: avoid practice after second trimester
- High blood pressure: Don’t raise arms overhead

Chakra Correlation

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