VrksasanaTree Pose - A foundational standing balance posture
virk-SHAAHS-anna (roll the r in virk)
Vrksa (वृक्ष) = Tree
Asana (आसन) = Pose, Posture, Seat
Vrksaana or tree pose, allows us to step into the joy of balance. It is a beginner’s standing balance pose, but that does not mean that it is easy. Tree pose requires a shift in our center of gravity and a narrowing of our base of support while keeping the upright energy of tadasana (mountain pose). The pose is engaged but not rigid and cultivates grounding in the foot of the standing leg and flexibility in the hip and knee of the bent leg. There is a “root to rise” energy as the crown of the head lifts to the sky. It allows us to stand in a receptive but powerful stance. The pose is never fully still, instead our foot is absorbing the energy of our movement and making constant subtle (or not so subtle in the beginning) adjustments to keep us upright. At first the pose may feel unsteady and the adjustments may cause us to shift a good deal. Over time and with steady practice the pose finds a sense of quiet within the balance and becomes relaxed within its efforts.
In some traditions, the pose is called Bhagirathasana, to honor a great yogi king from India who—as stories claim—stood on one leg for a long time to appease the Hindu god Shiva and to be allowed to bring the sacred river Ganges from heaven to earth. The pose is meant to be one that brings about a calm endurance. While it is not the most complex pose it takes patience and persistence to learn to balance.
When we first try to balance there can be a tendency to over grip. Try setting up the pose with a bit of patience and softness to the breath. Ease in and allow yourself to feel the shifts beneath you. Start from a place of joyful exploration and be curious and compassionate about your progress. Some days balance challenges even long time practitioners. Most of all have fun.
How to do Vrksasana
Variations and Modifications
ReferencesIyengar, B.K.S. (1966) Light on Yoga, Yoga Dipiki. (3rd Edition) NY, United States of America. Schocken Books Inc.
Singleton, M. (2010) Yoga Body, the Origins of Modern Posture Practice. NY, United States of America. Oxford University Press, Inc.
Swenson, D. (1999) Ashtanga Yoga, the Practice Manual. (6th Edition) (Woodruff, C, Ed.). Houston, TX, United States of America. Ashtanga Yoga Productions.
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