Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Tree Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


No one knows how challenging it is to stand on one leg until they have tried Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Vrksasana

(Pronounced as "vrick-SHAHS-anna")

The Sanskrit word vrksa means "tree." Here you will learn how to lengthen your body up and down at the same time time like a tree. Pushing down while stretching up with equal force is the key to balance.

How to do Tree Pose

Step One

Stand up as tall as you can with your feet together in Tadasana. Bend your right knee and turn the knee out to your right side as you lift the right foot. Grab your right foot with your hands and pull the right heel up to press against the inside of the left thigh. Pull your foot all the way up so the heel is at the root of your thigh.

Step Two

Adjust your right foot so that the right toes point straight down to the floor. Make sure the entire sole of your right foot is pressing evenly against the inside of your left thigh. Adjust your center of gravity so that the center of your pelvis is above your left big toe on the floor.

Step Three

Push your left foot firmly into the floor as you hold your left leg straight and balance. Put one hand on your lower abdomen and the other hand on your sacrum at your lower back. Use the pressure of your hands to adjust yourself so that you're not sticking out your lower back or your belly. When you feel that your hands are parallel to each other, then you will know you've aligned your pelvis properly.

Step Four

Now inhale as you slowly lift both arms straight up together toward the sky. If you cannot maintain your balance while lifting your arms, then keep your hands on your hips instead and focus on pressing your right foot firmly against your left leg. Your goal is to eventually lift your arms up enough that they are behind your ears.

Step Five

Breathe normally and gaze at a fixed point in front of you. Remain in this position for up to a minute. Then exhale as you lower the arms and foot to return to Tadasana. Switch legs to repeat the posture on the opposite side and hold it for the same amount of time.

Beginner's Tip:

If your foot tends to slide down the inside of your thigh no matter how hard you press the foot and thigh together, then pull up one end of your yoga mat and place it so that you sandwich the yoga mat in between your foot and your inner thigh. The added friction of the mat will give you extra support to keep your foot up.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Vrksasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Headaches caused by excessive neck and shoulder strain
  2. Irregular blood pressure
  3. Ankle or knee injuries less than 3 months old

Modifications and Props:

If it is difficult for you to hold your balance, then practice the pose by standing against a wall. That way, you can lean back slightly on the wall for support while also checking your alignment. Your leg, lower back, the backs of your shoulders and your head should all maintain contact with the wall behind you.

Deepen the Pose:

Once you have stretched your arms up so high that your upper arms are behind your ears, then bring the palms of your hands together above your head into Namaskar mudra. Open your armpits as much as possible and expand your chest.

Benefits:

  • Tones the legs
  • Stretches out the groins, hips, chest and shoulders
  • Improves your posture
  • Helps to correct flat feet

Variations:

Try doing Half Lotus while in Tree Pose. Instead of pressing the sole of your foot against the inside of your thigh, pull the foot up higher so that your heel presses into the top of the thigh just underneath the hip bone. Extend your lifted foot through the heel so that you are not pointing your toes. Press your raised foot hard into your standing leg to keep it there when your hands let go of the foot. Then your lifted knee will automatically descend lower into perfect Half Lotus posture. Press your palms together in Namaskar mudra as you hold the posture.

Partnering:

Ask a partner to stand by your side and help you lift the arms. They should stand next to you to see your profile. Ask them to place one hand in between your shoulder blades and push your spine slightly in and up with gentle pressure. This will help you lengthen your arms from the bottom of your shoulders and lift your sternum. With the other hand, they can press your arm back behind your ears and slightly tug your arm upward. Then they can stand on your other side and do the same thing for the other arm.

Next Pose:

Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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