The Tree pose - Vrksasana (vrksa - tree, sana - pose).
The benefits of the tree pose include helping to improve balance, endurance and stability, and also toning the legs and feet.
Balance can be improved at any age!
1. Begin by standing close to a wall. Keep your feet parallel to each other and root them firmly into the earth and lengthen your spine.
Tug your tailbone under. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your heart lifted. Choose something in front of you as a focus point (drishti or gaze) to help you balance.
2. With your hands joined together in front of your heart (called njali mudra) shift your weight onto your left leg, bend the right knee and raise your right foot up along the standing leg.
Beginners can place the foot against the left ankle (see photo at left).
As your practice deepens, you may bring the right foot below the left knee or all the way up to your inner left thigh.
Never press your foot directly against your knee.
In order to maintain the midline or center
of the body, press your right foot firmly into your left ankle, left shin or left thigh and allow the left, standing leg
to respond by pressing back.
Square both hips and shoulders towards the front and open your right knee to the right (as shown in the photo above).
3. Contract your right quadricep muscles, pull your belly in and up. Extend the crown of your head up toward the sky and keep your chest lifted.
Hold for five-to-10 breaths and with each breath, allow the tree to grow taller.
Raise your arms to the sky (as shown in the photo below).
Repeat while standing on the right leg.
Once you’re comfortable with the pose, you can gradually move away from the wall and do it in the middle of the room.
Disclaimer: Do not begin any physical activity described in this column without prior approval from your health care professional.