Tree pose is one of the first postures that beginner yogis learn and for good reason.
It looks so simple but guarantee there will be a few losses of balances on this one! The whole of your bottom half is challenged to not only strengthen but provide support and stabilise.
It can also change from one day to the next. Your head needs to be in the game from beginning to end so, if you’re like me, you’ve had a hard day or week, you’re probably thinking about other things which will effect your balance.
If that’s the case, you might find that you aren’t at your best here.
So, other than balance, what are the muscles worked?
Whenever I’ve done this pose, I’ve found that the two areas that I can feel the most are my ankles (definitely in the ankles!) and my groin.
You can feel the weight continuously moving around your foot and the ankle shifting to compensate.
The idea is to have the weight evenly distributed but that’s easier said than done when you’re first starting out.
If the bent leg has the foot above the knee and is out wide, you should be able to feel the stretch all along your inner groin.
What are the benefits of the pose?
Helps with calming the mind and reducing stress
Strengthens the outside of the thigh and glutes when the leg is bent, ankles and quads in the standing leg
Great posture to allow for deep breathing.
Strengthens the core, since it helps in keeping you stable.
Good for posture.
Things to think about
Variations will include foot position on the inside of your leg, moving from the ankle to the top of your thigh. However, you should NEVER place the foot on the inside of your knee and stress this joint.
Balance is super key here so start holding onto a chair or something like that to begin with
If you have ankle problems, either avoid or don’t raise your foot up too high to begin with.
Steps and variations toward Tree Pose
From a standing position, reach your right foot and place it on the inside of your left thigh, if you have that in you. Otherwise place your foot anywhere on your leg, as long as it isn’t on the inside of your knee.
It’s OK to have your knee facing forward a tad if this stops your hips from rotating. What we are looking for is straight hips and knee out to the side but not at the expense of hip rotation
Ensure that the standing foot remains pointing forward. Press your thigh and foot against each other for added stability.
Place your hands in a prayer position and find a spot in front of you to gaze at. Don’t move your gaze!
Stay here for about a minute or so before swapping and repeating on the other side.
Pay close attention to your hips, knees, standing ankle and bent foot.
How to make it more challenging or easier
Feel free to close your eyes to challenge your proprioception.
Raise your hands up straight overhead.
If you want to make it easier, think about your foot position. The higher it is, the more challenging it will be.
Give this a go and let me know how many times you fall over!
In a bit.