POSE OF THE WEEK – Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

It’s that time again!

So if you’ve been practicing yoga for a while now you’ve probably noticed some poses are starting to become easier to manage, and you might even be waking up the next morning slightly less over-stretched.
That might mean it’s time to start learning some more challenging variations.
Tree pose is one with several.

HOW DO I DO IT?

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This pose can be either detrimental to your body or extremely beneficial. Why? It’s commonly practiced incorrectly. The concept seems simple so people tend to push themselves in the pose quicker than they should – leading to incorrect posture and damage to the joints and back.

1. Stand tall, and DROP THAT TAILBONE. The core is engaged and working hard to help you balance on one leg, you’ll know it’s working if you’re making an effort to tighten up that butt and pushing your pelvis forward.

2. Put your leg in the right spot! This means, NO KNEE. I know the difference between your inner thigh and lower leg is large but by no means push yourself too far! Your hips are working to open without compensating your posture and balance so if the thigh is too far of a stretch, put your foot on your lower leg and work to open your hip to the side. Putting your foot on your knee can cause major damage, furthermore, your standing knee should be slightly bent to prevent a similar injury.
Claire Missingham
3. Your arms are not the focus. Sure you can work on deepening your tree pose by extending your arms up and out to the side as if you were holding a beach ball but DON’T DO THIS IF YOU ARE NOT DOING THE REST OF THE POSE CORRECTLY. The hands are normally either on one’s hips, in prayer, touching above or opened above mimicking – you guessed it – a tree.

4. Your breath and attitude are key! Balance is key in this pose, and that means mentally the most strenuous. Most people have the flexibility to do the pose, but without a clear mind and positive attitude, they tend to last no more than a couple seconds in the pose before they topple over. In saying that, toppling over is okay if it’s truly a difficult pose for you. Like I said, keep a clear mind and be patient. You tend to understand things better when you’re thinking less strongly about trying to understand it.

VARIATIONS

I mentioned above that you can place your foot on your lower leg or thigh, however some people work instead on opening their hips to “Half-Lotus”. This variation creates a deeper hip stretch and you can move your foot anywhere from the bottom of the thigh to the thigh crease if this is what you are working towards.
Claire Missingham
Some people even bring tree to the floor in a plank variation!
Claire Missingham
And I bet you didn’t guess there was such thing as an upside down tree…
Claire Missingham

BENEFITS

BALANCE. Like almost every other pose I could list, this pose brings balance to your mind as the mind is working so hard to concentrate on balancing your body itself. Your legs and abs are working hard to keep you from falling, and the hips are opening to make other poses that much easier to do later on. Overall, so I don’t bore you, this pose (like yoga in general) will help you feel rejuvenated and awaken you and your body to be able to continue the rest of the day with your creative juices flowing at full speed.


(Pictures found: www.cafepress.comhttp://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/tree-pose-variations/)

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