Tree pose is a fundamental yoga pose however it can be tricky to master. The good news is that there are several tips that I will share to help you achieve a solid tree pose. To do tree pose (vrksasana) lift your right foot into the left thigh on the first side. Bring the hands to prayer hand position known as Anjali mudra and gaze steadily at one point on the wall. Stay in Tree pose for up to a minute.
Tree pose is great for improving your balance and coordination in all areas of your life. It is also good for those with sciatica, stretching the thigh and groin area. In addition, tree pose strengthens the core, ankles, and thighs.
Tip #1 Make the heel sharp.
Carrie Owerko, a senior intermediate Iyengar yoga teacher, recommends making the heel sharp meaning press hard through the heel of the leg bending. If you don’t press hard through that heel and only press through the toes then you won’t be able to achieve a strong connection like standing on the balls of the feet.
So, bring the heel to the top press sharply through the heel near the groin. Carrie says sharpen it as if it were a diamond. You outer hips are the prongs that are squeezing in to hold the diamond in its setting. So if you let your outer hips go and your foot is sloppy, you are going to lose your diamond.
Tip #2 Practice by a wall.
The wall is a great tool to have especially when you are learning the pose, have osteoporosis or your muscles feel weak. Balance the bent knee on the wall to help stabilize you while you’re still doing a lot of the work yourself. You can keep the knee on the wall while you learn to square the hips and roll the bent knee back. You can also explore taking your other foot on and off the wall to test your balance.
Tip #3 Visualize a tree while doing the pose.
This might seem simple, but as soon as you visualize a tree you will naturally ground down through the legs and distribute your weight in a more stable way. Your mind directly influences your stability and balance, so this pose can also help to remind your mind to calm down. Once you feel calm deepen your breath and watch your mind continue to clear even more.
Tip # 4 Lay on the floor.
This is a trick to check how open your hips actually are. It’s often hard to if we are underusing or overusing our hip flexibility when we have to balance at the same time. To do this simply lay on your back and bend the knee into the thigh. Open the thigh (as much as feels natural) and take note of where knee and thigh end up. Make sure to try this on the other side because one side might be more open in the hip than the other.
Lastly, dress in comfortable yoga leggings and have fun on the mat. Namaste.