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Tree Pose (vrksasana)

Standing balancing posture that stretches to your entire body.
 

Tree Pose (or vrksasana) is a standing balancing pose that provides a good stretch to your entire body. The pose can also strengthen your legs, ankles and feet and help increase the flexibility of your hips and knees.
 
To perform Tree Pose, you bend one leg and place the sole of your foot against the inside of your other leg. Standing on one foot, you then stretch your arms above your head. While in the pose, try to visualize your body stretching downward through your supporting leg, upward through your arms and outward through your bent leg.
 
You may find it difficult to maintain your balance in this pose. To remain steady, sink your weight down through your supporting foot. Imagine your supporting foot as a root that keeps you solidly planted in the ground.
 
Gazing at a fixed point in front of you and breathing evenly can also help you maintain your balance. Make sure you take your time performing Tree Pose. It may take you a while to find your balance.
 
Steps:
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Shift your weight onto your left foot and then bend your right leg.
Place the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left leg as high up as is comfortable. Do not place your foot against your knee joint.
(Point the toes on your right foot toward the floor.)
Bring your palms together at chest level in Prayer Pose.
Press the sole of your right foot firmly against the inside of your left leg and relax your bent right leg away from your hip.
Press the sole of your left foot into the floor.
Inhale as you raise your arms above your head, keeping your palms together, and stretch out through your fingertips.
Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze at a fixed point in front of you.
(Visualize yourself stretching in three different directions at once - downward, upward and outward.)
Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and then return to Mountain Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 9 for your other side.
 
What can I do if I have difficulty maintaining my balance?
If you find you cannot maintain your balance in Tree Pose, you can stand beside a wall and place one hand on the wall for support while performing the pose. Once you feel stable, you can remove your hand from the wall and raise your arm above your head. You can also steady yourself by standing with your shoulder blades and buttocks against a wall as you perform the pose. When you are confident in your ability to remain balanced in Tree Pose, try performing the pose away from a wall.
 
How can I make Tree Pose more challenging?
You can perform Tree Pose with your eyes closed to make the pose more challenging. When you do not gaze at a fixed point in front of you, you challenge your ability to remain balanced. In addition to keeping your body balanced, closing your eyes can challenge you to focus your mind.
 
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