Vrikshasana - The Tree pose

Asana practice in Yoga Meditation is quite different from that of modern yoga studios. Vrikshasana, the Tree pose is described here for those participating in 1-1 Yoga Mentoring with Radhika Shah-Grouven.

Vriksha is Sanskrit and means Tree. The Tree prepares you for the meditative postures of Swastikasana and Siddhasana. It  is not possible to sit for longer Meditation sessions with tight hip muscles, tense shoulders or faulty back posture.

Vrikshasana loosens the inner hip muscles so that one can master the meditative postures. It stretches the shoulders and the spine so that the back remains strong and straight even for longer durations of meditation.

The Supine Tree

The Standing Tree is a balancing posture that requires some time to master. It is best for beginners to prepare for this pose in the supine position first.

Lie on the floor; place the legs together with the heels and toes touching, hands by the sides. 

Bend the right leg and slide the right foot up the left leg as far as you can.  If you do this daily, with time you will find that your muscles stretch and you can grasp the right ankle with the right hand, without bending forward. 

Rest the sole of the foot on the inside of the left thigh as high as possible. Let the knee rest on the floor. If the knee does not rest on the floor  allow the natural pull of gravity to do the work for you. Do not use force to press the knees on the ground.

Inhaling raise both arms overhead. Keep the upper arms next to the ears and stretch the arms upward. As you do this pose daily over a period of time, you will be able to place your palms together and stretch fully.

Breath normally in this position. Maintain this pose for a couple of minutes or as long as is comfortable. Bring your hands to the side again and release foot. 

Repeat the same for the other side.

Practice this over a longer period of time and you will find the posture is very comfortable. Then you can place your foot, sole facing upwards, on the left thigh. If the knees do not touch the floor, rest in that position and allow gravity to gradually bring the knee lower down to the floor.

Inhaling raise both arms overhead. Keep the upper arms next to the ears and stretch the arms upward. As you do this pose daily over a period of time, you will be able to place your palms together and stretch fully.

Breath normally in this position. Maintain this pose for a couple of minutes or as long as is comfortable. Bring your hands to the side again and release foot. 

Repeat the same for the other side.

Once you have mastered this posture lying on the floor, you will find it relatively easy to do the same in the standing position. 

Vrikshasana: The Standing Tree

Stand erect with legs together, hands by the sides. 

Place the left leg and foot firmly on the ground.

To prepare for the balancing pose, fix your gaze on a point on the wall in front of you. Now slowly bend the right leg and slide the right foot up the left leg.

Without bending forward, grasp the right ankle with the right hand.

Rest the sole of the foot on the inside of the left thigh as high as possible, with the knee turned out to the side at a 90 degree.

Balance steadily on the left foot. Fix your gaze on a stationary point in front. 

While breathing normally bring the hands to the chest in the prayer position. Hold the pose for a 15 seconds or as long as you can.

If you feel steady on one foot and confident, then inhaling raise both arms overhead.

Place the palms together, keep the upper arms next to the ears and stretch the arms upward. Keeping gaze fixed on a point in front of you hold the pose for 15 seconds or as long as you can.

Then slowly lower the hands and arms and release foot. Relax on both feet.

Repeat, standing on right foot.

The Standing Tree: Advanced Version

Stand erect with legs together, hands by the sides. 

Place the left leg and foot firmly on the ground. To prepare for the balancing pose, fix your gaze on a point on the wall in front of you. Now slowly bend the right leg and slide the right foot up the left leg.

Without bending forward, grasp the right ankle with the right hand.

Instead of resting the sole of the right foot on the inside of the left thigh, place the right foot on top of the left thigh in the half lotus position.

Balance steadily on the left foot. Fix your gaze on a stationary point in front. 

While breathing normally bring the hands to the chest in the prayer position. Hold the pose for a 15 seconds or as long as you can.

If you feel steady on one foot and confident, then inhaling raise both arms overhead.

Place the palms together, keep the upper arms next to the ears and stretch the arms upward. Keeping gaze fixed on a point in front of you hold the pose for 15 seconds or as long as you can.

Then slowly lower the hands and arms and release foot. Relax on both feet.

Repeat, standing on right foot.

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