Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, is one of the first postures any yogi learns. It seems simple enough, but is physically challenging for the hips, balance, ankles, and feet. It can also change daily depending on many emotional factors like your general mood, the day you’ve had, the amount of sleep you got, interactions that happened right before practice, and so much more.
Overall, Tree Pose is chock full of juicy goodness, and is one of those foundational postures that every yogi should return to as much as possible. Here are a few of the many delicious holistic benefits of Tree Pose:
Cool Off and Slow Down
Even just a few breaths in Tree Pose help ground you if you are having a whirlwind week. It creates peace in your mind and in your body, and is a wonderful way to slow down when life gets overwhelming. Curbing anxiety and stress is just one of the emotional responses this posture encourages, and it naturally cools you off and balances the fight or flight response.
Take Tree Pose first thing in the morning to help deepen your ability to concentrate on your mat, and in life.
Tree prepares you for almost all other balances, and can act as a wonderful transitional posture to help you move smoothly from pose to pose with strength and focus.
Standing on one leg enhances the strength in your ankles and feet -- which is very important for runners. Strengthening the soles of your feet is vital if you struggle with plantar fasciitis, or poor arch support, and balancing on one leg strengthens your standing leg since you are forced to engage the thigh muscles more then you otherwise would. This can be crucial for those of us who struggle with recurrent back pain.
Posture, Balance, and Self Esteem
Controlling the level of the lifted leg is a wonderful exercise for pelvic and sacroiliac health, all of which helps your overall posture and spinal health.
This pose is known to enhance confidence and create a more positive level of self-esteem. Standing tall and proud with good posture, whether in a variation or balancing whole-heartedly on one foot, the alignment alone broadens the shoulders, opens your heart, and raises your feel-good factor.
Tree Pose is a great way to help relieve sciatic pain over time. The leg lift opens your hips laterally and stretches out your inner thigh and groin, which is super yummy for athletes.
Plus, lifting your chest and dropping your shoulders away from your ears stretches your spine from top to tail, making you stand taller and feel longer.
Breathe More Deeply
With your hands at heart center, you have the space in your diaphragm to get into some pranayama exercises that compliment the benefits of the shape itself. This can be relaxing or invigorating, depending on your practice.
Other arm variations like Cactus, Eagle Arms, or Reverse Prayer will contribute more of a heart opener or shoulders opener, which is great for your lungs.
As it turns out, a Tree a day could possibly keep the doctor at bay!
What are your favorite benefits of Tree Pose? Share with us below!