Yoga is revered worldwide for its ability to improve overall health and well-being. It includes numerous poses that offer varied benefits for the mind and body. One of these poses is the tree pose also known as Vrksasana. It is a popular exercise that helps to improve balance, strength, and flexibility.
Apart from its incredible benefits for the mind, body, and soul, the tree pose is also popular because it can be easily modified based on the fitness level, flexibility, and experience of the practitioner. It can target multiple areas of the body at once and offers a multitude of other benefits. This article will help you understand the benefits of tree pose for your body. It also includes tips and modifications to use the tree pose for maximum benefit.
What is Tree Pose?
Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is a standing yoga pose that requires balance and focus. The name is derived from the body’s posture, which forms the shape of a tree with the arms extended like branches.
The Tree Pose has evolved significantly over decades and now has numerous variations. Some people practice the traditional version of the pose whereas others prefer more challenging variations. Irrespective of the version you choose, the Tree Pose can be a great way to improve your health and well-being.
15 Benefits of Tree Pose
The tree pose is considered a basic fun pose that all yoga practitioners enjoy getting into. Most of the yoga related accessories or posters tend to have this as reference images, making it even more popular. Here, in this section you will find the 10 benefits of tree pose both at the physical as well as the emotional or mental levels of the body.
- Balance and stability – The pose helps you attain a perfect balance even while you are standing on your single leg. Gradually, as you try to balance with your eyes open and focused you tend to improve your overall body balance and stability through your daily activities as well.
- Strengthens the leg muscles – The steady grounding into the floor to balance the body weight on a single leg helps strengthen the leg completely from ankles, and calf muscles, up to thighs.
- Stretches the ligaments and tendons – In addition to strengthening the leg muscles, the pose also helps stretch the ligaments and tendons of the leg which will help keep your legs more flexible and mobile.
- Stretches the upper body – The upper body stretches as you lengthen your arms upward and join them above your head. You must be able to feel the actual stretch in your groin, chest, shoulders, and neck and also experience relief from stiffness in your upper back.
- Strengthens the core –Not only the lower body but you can benefit a lot from core strengthening by actively engaging your core as you balance your body on one leg.
- Improves Posture – The way our body lengthens out upward while also finding the right balance on the ground, gives the perfect opportunity for posture corrections. With the appropriate amount of stretch and an equal amount of strength throughout, you are sure to feel rejuvenated.
- Increases body awareness – Unlike most of the poses in yoga where your eyes remain closed, this tree pose necessitates you to keep your eyes open and stay focused. The pose helps you to stay aware of your body and mind not only while you are holding it but also develops your awareness of yourself and your surroundings over time with regular consistent practice.
- Improves neuromuscular coordination – The tree pose has a significant effect on neuromuscular coordination where your mind and body work in perfect sync. You might see visible results in your performance as with better mind and body coordination, you are sure to give your best at every task.
- Enhances body flexibility – The upper body, core, and lower body experience a complete stretch and allow the body to become flexible. This pose has a full-body effect and also works wonders at an emotional level too.
- Alleviates stress levels – The tree pose is very relaxing as it soothes the central nervous system and allows one to experience a stress-free mind.
- Improves concentration – A clear mind and a happy body are all it takes to stay focused at work. The tree pose helps you to improve concentration as it not only strengthens and stretches your physical body but also improves your neuromuscular coordination keeping your mind cool and relaxed.
- Calms the mind – Not only with stress and anxiety but a quick practice of tree pose daily in the morning will keep you cool in the head throughout the day. It calms the mind and cools you off for a rough day.
- Helps to bring clarity – If you feel situations in your life are overwhelming and exhausting then you must try this pose. Though yoga has always been the best choice to find the right balances in life, not everyone needs to become an expert to benefit from the results. The tree pose is a basic and beginner-level pose that can help you achieve great clarity.
- Improves breathing – The position of your arms in this pose gives sufficient room in your lungs for you to take deep breaths. These breath cycles make you feel so fresh and energetic.
- Increases blood circulation – The tree pose helps regulate blood pressure by improving blood circulation throughout the body from the toes of your feet to the tips of your fingers.
Chakra Balance from Tree Pose
Chakras are the energy centers in the body and yoga is known to be beneficial for the chakras.
The seven chakras are located along the spine, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra is associated with a different color, element, and quality.
When your chakras are in balance, you experience harmony and well-being. However, when one or more of the chakras become blocked or out of balance, you may experience physical or emotional problems.
Tree Pose is known to be a great way to help balance the chakras because it helps to open up your energy centers along the spine. This pose also helps improve concentration and focus, which can help achieve a state of balance between the chakras.
Getting Vrksasana right: How to Do the Tree Pose
Tree pose is classified as a beginner yoga pose. However, it requires a fair bit of coordination and balance to get it right. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform the tree pose:
- Get into position: The mountain pose or Tadasana is a great starting position for the tree pose. Make sure that both feet are firmly planted on the ground and your weight is adequately distributed to achieve balance for further steps.
- Balance on one leg: Try to balance on any one of your legs, left or right. If your left leg is your standing leg, keep your left foot planted on the ground, and slowly bend your right leg at the knee to position your right foot against your left inner thigh. This is known as the half-lotus position in Bikram yoga. The knee of your bent leg will point outward.
- Lengthen your body: Clasp your hands together in a prayer position or Anjali Mudra and raise your arms above your head. In this form, your head, shoulders, pelvis, and left foot should align vertically. The top of your torso should lift slightly, with your tailbone extending toward the ground.
- Hold and repeat: Inhale and hold the pose for as long as you can. When you’re ready to switch legs, exhale, and return to the mountain pose to start again.
If you feel pain or discomfort while performing the steps, contact your healthcare practitioner. Also, if you have any health conditions, it is a good idea to get the go-ahead from your doctor before trying a new exercise.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Tree Pose
The Tree Pose is not as easy as it may appear in pictures and videos. It is thus essential to prepare your body to perform the posture in a way that facilitates maximum benefits and avoids injury.
Below are some tips to get the technique right:
Prepare your body for the tree pose with the supine tree pose (supta vrksasana)
- Lie down with arms close to your side and legs together
- Lift your legs a few inches off the floor to stretch your core
- Raise your hands slightly to your hips
- Lift your left leg over your right leg gently
- Keep your legs together without dropping them
- Hold for 5 to 10 breaths
- Repeat with the other leg
The above steps will help to stretch your core and legs and prepare your body for Tree Pose.
Modifications to the Tree Pose
Tree Pose is one of the fundamental poses that a beginner yoga practitioner must learn. This pose helps to improve balance and concentration alongside lengthening the spine. If you’re new to yoga, it may be difficult for you to get it right on the first try. However, do not let the difficulty demotivate you as you can try the following modifications of the tree pose to reap maximum benefits from your practice.
- Wall tree: If you feel that lack of balance is preventing you from getting the tree pose right, use a flat wall for support. This will help you to stay stable as you get into vrksasana.
- Reclining tree: Beginners may find balancing on one leg too difficult or painful. It can also get difficult to flex the bent knee properly. Trying the pose as you lie on your back on the floor can be an excellent way to start. This is known as the reclining tree pose.
- Low tree: Several factors can affect your flexibility. If you are not flexible enough, keep the ball of the foot on the floor and rest the heel against the opposite shin.
Variations of the Tree Pose
There are multiple variations of Tree Pose, each with its unique benefits. Some of the most popular ones are listed here:
- Reverse Tree Pose: This variation is perfect for the spine and the nervous system. It involves reversing the position of your legs to have the left leg in front and the right leg behind. If you are just looking for the reverse Tree Pose, look out for 4:30 mins.
- Half lotus Tree Poses: This variation benefits the hips and the lower back. It involves placing your right foot in a half-lotus position at the base of your left thigh.
- One-legged Tree Pose: This variation is excellent for balance and concentration. To get into this pose, raise your right leg off the ground and place your foot on your left thigh. If you find that difficult, you can also set your foot on your left ankle or calf.
Those looking for a challenge can try variations of the Tree Pose that involve lifting one leg off the ground. This not only requires more balance but also increases the amount of strength needed to maintain the position.
Common tree pose mistakes to avoid
While it is counted among beginner poses, the tree pose has multiple moving parts and thus there is a high probability of mistakes. Here are common tree pose mistakes to avoid:
- The hip shouldn’t stick out on the standing leg and both sides should always be square with each other
- The standing foot must point forward. A foot wobbling to one side can hurt the joints
- The bent knee must stay stable and should point outward
- Do not stress your face. Keeping it neutral will help to experience relaxation from the pose
- Do not place the foot on the knee of the standing leg to avoid instability and joint injury. Keep it on the shin until you are comfortable placing it on the thigh
Contraindications of the Tree pose
Yogis suffering from migraine, high or low blood pressure, or insomnia must avoid this pose as it may aggravate the issues further. It is also not recommended for those with knee or hip injuries. Yogis who find it difficult to achieve balance with the pose must perform it near a wall to find support when required.
The Tree Pose is a great way to improve balance and flexibility while promoting healthy spine alignment. This simple yoga pose can also provide a sense of calm and peace. Once you try it, you will be amazed at how much this pose can transform your physical and mental health. However, always listen to your body; if you do not feel comfortable, don’t do it.
Additionally, the Tree Pose can help open up your body’s chakras or energy centers. If you are new to yoga, start with an introductory class before attempting the Tree Pose. And always pay attention to what your body says, do not push yourself beyond your limits.