How to Do Tree Pose or Vrksasana

How to Do Tree - Vrksasana
Tree Pose - Vrksasana. Ann Pizer

One of yoga's biggest benefits is that it helps you build better balance, which helps with any number of other physical activities. It's often touted by professional athletes as the yoga advantage. It also becomes a huge issue as your body ages. Good balance and a strong core will go a long way in helping you stay active and healthy.

Tree pose is usually the first standing balance pose that is taught to yoga beginners because it's the simplest. The most important thing to work on in tree is making sure that the pressure of your lifted foot on your standing leg doesn't cause that side's hip to stick out. The hips should stay as square as possible, just as if you still have both feet on the floor in mountain pose. The second most important thing is to keep your sense of humor about learning to stand on one leg. It's harder than it looks at first and will be different every day. Don't get frustrated if you are tippy and fall over at first. It's all part of the process and you are improving all the time, even if it doesn't always feel like it. 

Type of pose: Balancing, standing

Benefits: Strengthens legs and core, improves balance.


1. Come to stand in mountain pose — tadasana with your hands in Anjali mudra at your heart center. 

2. Take a moment to feel both your feet root into the floor with your weight distributed equally on all four corners of each foot.

3. Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.

4. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh. 

5. Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh back into your foot with equal pressure. This will help you keep both hips squared towards the front so your right hip doesn't jut out.

6. Focus your gaze ( Drishti) on something that doesn't move to help you keep your balance.

7. Take five to ten breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and do the other side.

Beginners' Tips

1. If your left foot doesn't come easily to the upper right thigh, bring it lower on the right leg. The right calf is a good option. Be careful to avoid placing the left foot directly on the side of the right knee since that puts your joint in a vulnerable position. You can even put the left foot on your right ankle and keep your left toes on the floor as a little kickstand if that's the best fit for your body. 

2. Use the wall for balance if necessary. You can lean your butt against the wall or turn so that your left knee comes in contact with the wall when it's in its lifted position. 

3. Make sure that your left knee doesn't creep forward toward the center line. Keep it pointing to the left. 

Advanced Tips

1. Lift your arms up towards the ceiling. You can bring the palms to touch or keep your hands separated. Making a V shape with the arms feels good too. 

2. If you feel pretty comfortable in the pose, try closing the eyes and see if you can stay balanced. Be ok with falling out and coming back up.

3. Bring your left leg into a half-lotus position by pressing the top of your left foot into your right hip crease. To take it even one step further, reach your left hand behind your back and take a bind with your left big toe. 

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