1st Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Donald Anderson IV, 2nd photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Morayo Sayles, Last Image courtesy of YogaJournal.com
Tree pose is one of the most common poses folks have already seen whether they’ve practiced yoga or not. It’s a perfect pose for working with concentration, balance and going inward. Keep challenging yourself with this pose. This pose is great to come into after you’ve done a few good hip opener warm-ups, like Warrior II. I love this pose for the meditation I receive. It’s great to close your eyes to mess with your balance. You know it’s all in the mind. Tree pose’s physical benefits are that it’s great for strengthening the thighs, calves, ankles, and spine. It’s also great for stretching the groins and inner thighs, as well as the chest and shoulders. Not only that this pose relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
From Tadasana, while getting very grounded, begin by shifting your weight to your balancing leg, we’ll start with your left leg. So balancing on your left foot and leg, keeping all four corners of your feet firmly into the Earth, than come onto your right toes and balance your right heel on your left ankle, splaying out the right bent knee. This is a beginning pose for tree. If that is not challenging enough for you, you can then raise your right foot and place the bottom of your right foot on the left inner calf. Never balance on the knee directly, this could cause injury. To take this up a notch, grab your right ankle and bring the sole of your right foot to press firmly into the left inner thigh (as shown in the image). If possibly, try to get the right heel close up to the groin and toes will point towards the floor. Think good posture here.
Then take your hands to your heart for Namaste or Anjali Mudra. Or you can raise your hands up to the sky in Temple Mudra (hands clasped with index fingers pointing pressed together) or lastly you can take your arms up straight and out to the sky for branches.
It’s helpful to focus or gaze on a point that is not moving slightly in front of you. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly come out. Shake it out and come back to Tadasana, center and lengthen. Take this to the other side.
To challenge yourself more in this pose, close your eyes and find your balance and center again. Another way to challenge yourself in this pose is to take your balancing foot onto a block. If you entire foot is too big for the block, have your toes hang off the block so that you can keep the ball of the foot and the heel balancing on the block.
When not to do this pose or to modify / Contraindications:
Headache, Insomnia, Low blood pressure and for High blood pressure just don’t raise your arms overhead.
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