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How to Do Tree Pose "Vrikshasana" In Yoga?

Updated: Apr 27


Tree Pose Vrikshasana
Tree Pose Vrikshasana

The Tree Pose, Vrksasana or Vriksasana in Sanskrit (frequently spelled "Vrikshasana") is one of the iconic yoga postures, often used to represent yogis around the world. It is a treasure to practice on a daily basis.

Tree Pose Symbols

This key posture, through the image of the Tree Pose, symbolizes the link between Earth and Sky. The palms of the hands are most often joined in anjali mudra, in front of the chest, to recall centering in the heart. The arms can also be extended towards the sky as a symbol of elevation.

In Qi Qong, there is also a so-called tree posture: standing, both feet on the ground, arms open in a circle in front of the chest, as if holding a tree between the arms.

Overall, the postures of the tree refer to the entire plant world and the living world... They remind us of our timeless and constant link with Nature. Trees and Man look alike, they are united.

A “Tree” pose invites us to look within ourselves as much as to observe the wonders around us. By performing “Vrksasana”, we connect ourselves with nature through the body and we become this solid and majestic tree.

The benefits of tree pose

The strong point of this posture is its accessibility to the greatest number of people: it is one of the easiest balances on one foot to achieve, also for beginners in yoga.

Simple, this posture nonetheless remains essential and very beneficial. It combines the benefits of a balancing posture on one foot with those of a moderate hip opening. It tones the deep muscles of the pelvis, back and legs, and thus strengthens the overall balance of the body.

Tree pose offers practitioners all the intrinsic qualities of a tree: it anchors, restores stature and elevates. It brings confidence. It is a balancing posture that calms as much as it tones.

How long is recommended to perform Vrksasana?

This posture requires concentration. Priority is given to holding stable and durable, at least for 3 to 5 breaths, more than the height of the raised foot. I personally recommend holding it still for at least 1 minute, for around ten breaths. The longer the posture is held, the more beneficial it is physically and internally.

It can be performed during a Hatha Yoga or Vinyasa Yoga session, among other postures. I noticed that it could also be very useful practiced alone in isolation during a break of a few minutes, for example before an important meeting or in a moment of doubt. It allows you to recharge your inner strength and approach a stage with a serene and constructive mind.

Tree pose: with or without a mat?

During a yoga session or flow, the Tree Pose is practiced regularly on a mat. On thick mats like recycled ones, balance is more challenging, reserved for regular yogis. For beginners or people with poor balance, the anchoring in the ground is direct and stronger with a thin mat like comfort or foldable. It is also possible to get out of your mat to literally root your tree in the Earth!

How to perform the Tree pose “Vrksasana”?

I begin to install the posture...As it is a balanced posture, I first make sure that I am well anchored on my feet. The grip on the ground is reinforced and the balance is better when practicing barefoot. My gaze settles and I fix a point a few meters in front of my eyes to maintain balance.

From the standing posture, Tadasana, I carry the weight of the body on one of the feet and I raise the other foot, the palm placed on the inside of the supporting leg, if necessary helping myself to 'a hand. The palm of my raised foot rests on the inside of the calf or thigh. It is recommended not to press the palm on the knee so as not to create pressure on the joint, Tree Pose, and to instead choose to lower or raise the foot. It is also possible to keep your toes on the ground and only lift your heel, for a very gentle version, called “the shrub”.

I place my hands in front of my heart in anjali mudra, and I press my palms together and my foot inside the supporting leg to straighten my spine and strengthen my anchoring. I stretch my body in all directions: the foot pushing the ground to better root itself there; the knee raised outwards, moving away from the supporting knee; the navel pulled in, the muscles of the buttocks and perineum contracted to engage the deep muscles around the pelvis; the two palms press together, the elbows spread; the shoulders lower, while the top of the head rises towards the sun.

A variation consists of raising the foot further and placing the outer edge of the raised foot in the opposite groin: this is the half lotus on one foot (Ardha Padma Padmottanasana).

If the posture is stable and comfortable, I can raise my hands above my head, palms together or with other variations (arms spread, arm movements, etc.).

The most advanced version of the posture consists of holding the posture for a long time, with your eyes closed, maintaining control of the balance on the way down.

How to go further in tree pose?

Little exercise: I imagine my totem Tree Pose of the day... and I practice Vrksasana by “being” this tree.

Before performing the posture itself, I visualize my “totem tree”.

I take the time to close my eyes to let the image of the Tree Pose come to me that I wish to embody in this moment. I allow myself to choose this tree according to my feelings of the day: do I feel more like I am or need an oak, a linden tree, a cherry tree in flower or in fruit? Beyond the variety/species of the tree, I visualize its appearance, its age, its size. Perhaps it is a frail shrub today and will be a majestic tree tomorrow.

Then I become this majestic tree, I embody it...

Like any asana, I can go further in the posture by experiencing it fully. To give it all its strength and power, I now realize it by embodying this tree.

From Tadasana, I visualize the triangle formed by my big toe, little toe and heel: a solid tripod to mount my posture. I imagine roots starting from my feet and going deep into the ground. With each exhalation, they grow to further fix my trunk. I remember that the root system of a Tree Pose is approximately the same size as its crown (the upper part formed by the branches). These roots ensure my stability and growth.

I take the time to strengthen this anchor before raising my leg. I press firmly into the 3 support points of my tripod. Once up, I exert pressure with the palm of my raised foot against the supporting leg, to reinforce my solidity. I slightly retrovert my pelvis and pull in my navel to engage all the muscles in this area: I contract my buttocks, perform a slight external rotation of the thighs. My legs are then completely engaged: they form the solid and vigorous trunk of my tree. It is only from this robust trunk that the top of my tree-body can blossom.

My bust represents the top of my tree, its crown, from its lower branches to its top, the top of my head. From my strong trunk legs and the first low branches that extend from my pelvis, I stretch my spine towards the sky. As in the process of photosynthesis, I feel it growing under the action of the sun and the air.

When my Tree Pose is stable, solid, high, then I can deploy my branches which open in different directions. Branches immobile or mobile under the action of the wind.

I am this big, strong, magnificent tree, full of life.

I return very slowly to Tadasana while maintaining this calm strength within me.

I observe the effects of this posture in my body, in my breath and in my heart.

Which mat to use to do tree pose?

It is a balance posture that requires being on a stable support and as close as possible to the ground. We therefore recommend the range of foldable yoga mats or comfort yoga mats for doing the tree!

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