As we enjoy the last months of summer, we offer this easy balancing pose for your personal and family practice. This pose promotes mental and physical stability and can help us to feel centered and grounded. It is a great pose for beginners and experienced yogis alike.
It can also easily be adapted into a fun partner pose to try with a friend or kiddo.
Tree Pose stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders. It builds strength in the ankles and calves, and tones the abdominal muscles. This pose can also help with flat feet and sciatica.
Tree pose (Vrksasana):
1.Start by standing tall and straight with your back stretched long and your feet aligned, either hip width apart or touching. Your arms should be hanging straight at your sides.
2. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on one place or object in the room. Next, slowly shift your weight to your left leg and begin to raise your right foot off the floor. Align the sole of your right foot somewhere along the inner line of your left leg (ankle, calf or thigh, but not the knee). Make sure the toes of the should be pointing down and your pelvis should be completely straight.
3. What to do with your arms depends on what feels best for you and your body. Starting with your arms down at your sides is a great place to be. If you feel like experimenting with your balance a bit, you can bring your palms together at your sternum/heart center. If you are feeling like pushing your balance a little bit further, try stretching your arms straight up toward the ceiling, either shoulder width apart or with your palms pressed together.
4. Repeat all steps of this pose on the other side.
Partner Tree Pose
A fun way to practice tree pose with a partner!
1. Stand side by side with a partner, facing the same way, about 1 to 2 feet from your partner (depending on your size).
2. Bring your inside arms straight up, with your hands extended, and touch your partner’s palms (or anywhere on the inside of the arms, again, depending on your size).
3. Bend your outside leg and bring your outside heel onto your standing leg at the ankle, calf, or thigh (don’t rest your foot on the knee joint, which can cause injury).
4. Bring your outside arms to the middle, and touch palms in the prayer, or Namaste, position. If you’re feeling unstable, entwine your inside extended arms or put arms around each other’s backs. If you want a bit of a balance challenge, extend the outside arm
5. Focus on a spot on the floor about 6 to 8 feet in front of you, to help your balance.
6. Stay for 6 to 8 breaths; then get out of the pose by first taking down the outside bent leg and placing that foot on the floor, then releasing the inside palms that are touching, and finally, releasing the outside arms and hands that are touching or entwined.
7. Switch places, and repeat on the other side.