Vriksasana or Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
Vriksasana, Tree Pose
वृक्षासन / vṛkṣāsana
Vrksasana (vrk-SHAH-suh-nuh) is a standing balancing pose. This pose strengthens the leg muscles and helps develop stability. This pose keeps the hip open and stretches the sides of the trunk, lower back and upper back. The arms stretched upwards promotes flexibility of the shoulders.
Being a balancing pose, Vriksasana requires one to stay focused and present in the moment. As its name suggests, one becomes grounded and stable like the roots of a tree. The roots of a tree go deep into the ground and at the same time the tree rises upwards towards the sky. The deeper the roots, the higher the tree. The more we ground our body towards gravity the same force pushes us upward. Stability of the body and mind is most essential in the practice of yoga. Sage Patanjali clearly states in the Yoga Sutras that yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind. When the mind is calm, one is capable of living in peace. A tree gives shade to even the woodcutter who is cutting the tree down. Yogis are reminded of tolerance and calmness: the tree freely offers us shade, flowers, fruit and wood. In the same way a yogi is encouraged to develop friendliness (Maitrim) and compassion (Karunya) to all living beings as mentioned in the Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali. The practice of this pose can develop a stable and peaceful mind.
Those with high blood pressure should not lift their arms up, but keep their palms in Namaste at the center of the chest. For those who are frail or elderly, or have osteoporosis, inner ear conditions or balancing issues should take the pose with wall support for a shorter period of time. Those with fatigue should refrain from this pose.
Going into the Pose
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).