The oldest tree in the world lived up to almost 5,000 years in Nevada, USA and was named Prometheus, after the Greek Titan, until it was cut down in 1964 (where were you, UNESCO?). Trees are like pillars of wisdom that remain sturdy and adaptive to its surroundings, reflective of the balance and flexibility behind the Tree, or Vrikshasana, our last featured yoga pose this week.
Getting Into The Tree Pose
To make like a tree and pose, first assume the Tadasana (mountain pose), standing straight with your hands at the sides of your body. Then shift your weight slightly onto your left foot (engage the muscles of your left leg to aid the balance) and bend your right knee outwards to the side and bring high enough so that you could clasp your right ankle. Place the sole against your inner left thigh, with your toes pointing towards the floor.
Lengthen your back and keep your hips centered (i.e. aligned with your torso and not tilted to the side). Once you feel that your folded right leg and straightened left leg have their balance, press your palms together in front of your chest in prayer position, holding your gaze in focus about 4-5 feet away from you. To keep your balance squeeze your butt muscles and ensure your core is engaged. Once you are centered you can slowly raise your arms up, whilst remaining with the palms of your hands together.
Then lift your arms and hold your clasped hands above your head. Stay in this pose for about 30 seconds and then lower your right foot back to Tadasana. Repeat this procedure again by switching the legs.
Don’t forget to breathe the entire time ;)
Why The Tree Pose Is Good For You
The Tree is a pose that not only trains you to balance, but it also improves your spine, thighs, calves and ankles. By folding one leg and pressing it into the other, your inner thigh and groin are given a good stretch, while engaging your core muscles toughens up your abdominal area as you work to remain “sturdy” in your position.
As you balance on one leg, the tendon of your feet, the bones of your hips and legs and the stability of your hips are also strengthened; while your focus and concentration work to shut out restlessness and distraction.
Raising your arms and hands above your head also tones your shoulders and your triceps, although we recommend those with high blood pressure to just keep their hands low in prayer position.
The tree happens to be one of the most peaceful and graceful poses in yoga, so achieving and practicing this pose will help to boost your self-esteem and make you feel as poised as a, well – tree.
Beginners who find themselves struggling to stand still should practice by standing next to a chair for support, or by keeping your sole pressed lower along your straightened leg.
We’ve featured seven yoga poses this week and roped you in to find out why exactly are these sequences good for your body, not just your mind and tranquility.