Love them or hate them, balance poses are a must in a yoga routine. You can cultivate a mindset as you master a balancing pose like Tree. Emulate your favorite and become as strong as an oak, as light-hearted as a birch or as soft and yielding as a willow. The triumph you feel when you've held the pose without toppling over develops your confidence and mental mastery -- not to mention two strong sets of quads. Start every yoga practice in Mountain pose and follow that directly with Tree. Be creative with your arm positions and never lose sight of the goal of Tree pose -- to become firmly rooted and strong, while developing the ability to bend without breaking.
Things You'll Need
- Yoga mat
Stand on the floor or a yoga mat with your feet together to come into Mountain pose. Lift your toes and spread them before settling them back on the floor. Draw your quad muscles up and turn your tailbone under. Lengthen your torso and spread your shoulders wide. Balance your head directly over your neck and hold your arms straight down at your sides. Breathe naturally for up to one minute in Mountain.
Keep the toes of your left foot spread as you lift your right foot off the floor. Bend slightly to catch your right ankle in your right hand. Guide your right foot against your left inner, upper thigh with your hand. Beginners instead can rest the right foot against the left upper calf or ankle as they gain familiarity with the pose. Release your hand from your ankle and stand straight again. Tighten your abdomen, lift the quad muscles of your left leg and focus on a spot a few feet away to help you keep your balance.
Assume whichever arm positions suit your needs. Keep your arms out to the sides at shoulder height if your ability to balance is wonky on any given day, Alternately, bring the palms of your hands together in Anjali mudra and either keep them positioned at heart level or raise them above your head.
Keep making micro adjustments to your standing foot and leg, your tailbone, your abs and lower back during Tree pose to lengthen the amount of time you can balance on one leg. Spend up to two minutes on one leg before switching to the other side. Breathe naturally throughout, as a long, slow breath will only help you stay steady on your foot.
Tips & Warnings
- Stand next to a wall or barre -- a stationary handrail -- if your ability to balance on one leg is not yet strong. Don't use the wall for too long though, because the object of yoga is to release your crutches, and become a strong and balanced individual.
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