If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.
image by June Molgaard of Shannon in the half-lotus vatiation of Tree Pose
Like all standing balance poses tree pose can be challenging. But in some ways it’s easier than others because by extending the lifted knee to the side, you stabilize the pelvis and automatically engage the pelvic floor. When done right, tree pose creates strength in the legs, pelvic floor and abdomen. David Coulter says in Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, “...tree pose is both grounding and centering, and ... it will generate a sense of deep calm and endless patience.”
Brian says: I’d add that it’s also uplifting, at least for me. I find that after a nice stable tree pose I end up feeling...”lighter”......and maybe even taller. My breath feels slower and deeper. I’m calmer.
Tree pose is also an entryway to lots of fun, cool and challenging poses. For instance, a next step could be to put the raised foot in half-lotus, then do a standing forward bend. If you get that far, next squat down on one heel into tip-toe lotus. (My pose in the Rise and Shine Challenge). From there, an arm balance. Come to my class and I’ll show you.
Tree Pose Benefits:
- Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
- Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
- Improves sense of balance
- Relieves sciatica
Tree Pose Warnings:
Avoid this pose if you have:
- Do the prayer hands variation instead of raising your arms overhead if you have high blood pressure.
Modifications for Tree Pose:
Beginners can try tree pose on the wall to get a sense of balance. Even advanced practitioners can benefit from a wall now and then. It can help to get the alignment spot on.
You can also increase the challenge at any level by closing your eyes.
The photograph in this post is of half-lotus tree pose - one of the fun advanced variations Brian mentioned earlier. For the basic version, press the sole of the foot into the inner thigh and hold the hands in prayer position.
If you're new to OWY Focus Pose of the Month:
This a way to give our students a way of expanding their yogic learning and deepening their understanding of specific asanas. These poses will not necessarily be included in every class, but you may notice the focus pose, support poses and counter poses recurring in different classes with different teachers representing their own personal perspectives. We hope that this will give students a chance to more thoroughly learn poses from a variety of vantage points.