Have you heard that having good balance is connected to longevity? Time to refine your tree pose!

Tree pose is a balancing posture that replicates the graceful, steady stance of a tree. Also known as Vrikshasana (VRik-shah-SUN-aa) in the ancient language of Sanskrit. Vriksha means tree, and asana means pose.

Level of Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

Why should you do tree pose?
There’s research showing that balance is a good predictor of life expectancy. One study found a clear relationship between how long people in their fifties could stand on one leg with their eyes closed and whether they would be alive thirteen years later.

Another study found that for those unable to complete the balance test, there was an 84 percent higher risk of death from any cause. This link remained even when other factors including age, sex, BMI, and preexisting conditions or health risks like coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes were taken into account.

Feeling motivated to practice some balancing poses? Tree pose is a great place to start!

More benefits of tree pose

  • Increases concentration
  • Improves physical balance
  • Helps relieve sciatica
  • Strengthens the legs
  • Opens the hips

Step-by-Step Instructions

 

  1. Stand tall in Mountain pose with your arms relaxed by your sides.
  2. Bend your right knee and place your right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of your right foot should be placed firmly against your left inner thigh.
  3. Make sure that your standing leg (left leg) is straight. Find your balance.
  4. Once you feel steady, take a deep breath in and bring your palms together in Namaste (prayer pose) at your chest. Keep your shoulder blades relaxed.
  5. Look straight in front of you and gently focus your gaze on an unmoving object. A steady gaze helps maintain a steady balance.
  6. Ensure that your spine is straight, and continue breathing deeply. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths.
    On a slow exhalation, gently bring your hands down to your sides.
  7. Gently bring your right foot to the ground and return to Mountain pose.
  8. Working with the opposite side, bend your left knee and place your left foot on your right thigh, or as high as you can comfortably manage.
  9. Make sure your right leg is straight, and find your balance.
  10. Again, once you feel steady, take a deep breath in and bring your hands into Namaste (prayer pose).
  11. Look straight in front of you and gently focus your gaze on an unmoving object.
  12. Ensure that your spine is straight, and continue breathing deeply. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths.
  13. On a slow exhalation, gently bring your hands down to your sides.
  14. Gently bring your left foot to the ground and return to Mountain pose.

Note Do not place your raised foot against the knee joint, above or below the knee only.

You can also watch this video:

 

Precautions

Avoid Tree pose if you are suffering from any of these conditions:

  • Migraine headaches
  • High or low blood pressure (those with high blood pressure may do Tree pose but without raising the arms above the head, as doing so may raise the blood pressure a little)
  • Insomnia

Modifications and Variations

To modify…
For a beginner’s variation of Tree pose, instead of aiming for the inner thigh, use the ankle as a kickstand, propping the raised foot up on the inner ankle with the toes on the ground for balance.

The raised foot can also be placed below or above the knee if placement on the inner thigh is too difficult.

Practice finding your balance by bending and lifting one leg while wrapping your arms in a hug around the bent leg.

You can also utilize the support of a wall with one hand until you find your balance.

To increase the challenge…

  • Keep your palms together and lift your hands in prayer position up above your head.
  • Close your eyes and do your best to hold the pose without wavering.

Preparatory and Follow-Up Poses

Butterfly pose—Preparatory
Warrior II—Preparatory
Triangle pose—Follow-up

Here’s to a long, happy, and healthy life!

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Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

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