Vrikshasana (tree pose)
1. Stand tall and straight with arms by the side of your body.
2. Bend your right knee and place the right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of the foot should be placed flat and firmly near the root of the thigh.
3. Make sure that your left leg is straight. Find your balance.
4. Once you are well balanced, take a deep breath in, gracefully raise your arms over your head from the side, and bring your palms together in ‘Namaste’ mudra (hands-folded position).
5. Look straight ahead in front of you, at a distant object. A steady gaze helps maintain a steady balance.
6. Ensure that your spine is straight. Your entire body should be taut, like a stretched elastic band. Keep taking in long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with the body and the breath with a gentle smile on your face.
7. With slow exhalation, gently bring down your hands from the sides. You may gently release the right leg.
8. Stand tall and straight as you did at the beginning of the posture.
9. Repeat this pose with the left leg off the ground on the right thigh.
This is one round. Relax for a few seconds before performing the next round. Practice 5 to 10 rounds.
Breathing: The breath should be synchronized with the raising and lowering of the arms.
Physical - on the breathing, maintaining balance and the stretch of the whole body from top to bottom.
Spiritual - initially on mooladhara chakra to provide stability; once balance is achieved, change to ajna.
Sequence: Vrikshasana can be followed by any inverted asana.
Benefits: This pose leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It stretches the legs, back and arms, and invigorates you. It brings balance and equilibrium to your mind. It helps improve concentration. This posture has been found to relieve some cases of sciatica. It makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hips. Helps those who are suffering from sciatica.
Practice note: Those practitioners who have mastered vrikshasana with the eyes open may try it with the eyes closed.