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THE TREE POSE - VRIKSHASANA
Duration: Three to eight minutes
Trees evoke connotations of stability, longevity and an almost spiritual calmness. As you might expect from a pose whose name combines the Sanskrit words vriksh, meaning tree, and asana, indicating a yogic posture, this position really leaves you with a sense of feeling grounded.
1. Stand in the Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, with your toes and ankles touching, your pelvis perpendicular to the floor and your shoulders relaxed and open
2. With your arms by your side, ground yourself using either foot - especially focusing on the big toe joint - and lift your other leg by folding it at the knee
3. Place the sole of your raised foot against the upper inner thigh of the standing leg, with toes pointing downwards and the folded leg perpendicular to the standing leg
4. Make sure your hips are even and avoid the temptation to sink into the hip of the standing leg
5. Once you have established your balance, reach both of your hands above your head either in Anjali mudra (the prayer position), or with both hands wide open, and gaze (dhrishti) straight ahead
The Tree Pose, with its calming nature, is like a standing variation of a seated meditation posture that builds self-confidence and self esteem.
By remaining calm and focused as you balance on one foot, you learn to sway gently like a tree in the wind - steady and sure no matter what external circumstances may be.
This not only provides spiritual and metaphysical benefits, helping achieve balance in other aspects of life, it also provides physical advantages.
These include improved balance and stability, as well as strengthened ligaments and tendons in the feet.
It also strengthens and tones the entire standing leg up to the buttocks, establishes pelvic stability and strengthens the hips due to the weight-bearing nature of the pose.
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