The Tree Pose in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series is the next to last standing pose. Vriksasana is the Sanskrit name of this posture and, of course, translates to the meaning in English of Tree Pose. It is a posture that you do not use as much effort while in it but focus more on letting the posture open you up and work on you. The one-hour version of this yoga series, Tree Pose or Toe Pose, which has some similarities, can be the last standing posture before you hit the floor and take your Savasana. We will focus on Tree Pose in this article and get to know Toe Pose in the next post.
You start the posture by standing in your neutral default position, which is your feet touching and your ankle bones are touching one another. Your legs are straight, and your spine is straightforward, with the stomach pulled in towards the spine. Your gut is pulling in as if the belly button is coming in towards the spine. Make sure your arms hang heavy by your sides with palms facing forward. The eye gaze is focused ahead on one spot in front of you. We are now ready to move forward into the Tree Pose.
We start the Tree Pose by picking up the right foot from underneath with the left hand. By doing this, the first thing you will notice is the opening up of the knees, feet, ankles, and hips. You will receive substantial strengthening, opening, and healing effects by just doing this and nothing else. Once this position becomes established, gently press the right knee and leg towards the wall directly behind you. Make sure you are not forcing your knee and leg towards the back of the room but take it slowly. You should never feel as if you are forcing anything in the Tree Pose or any other posture. Start to press the hips forward to encourage further opening, but do not try to force your way into this portion of Tree Pose. You should feel a comfortable stretch through the hips because of this motion.
Start to work on your standing leg by keeping your leg straight and thigh contracted. Make sure the weight is spreading throughout the standing foot. Start pressing down the big toe, pinky toe, and then through the entire heel of the foot. Both your hips are square, and your shoulders are square in the front mirror. Make sure your stomach remains pulled in towards the spine, and make sure your spine is lengthening. You should feel as if an invisible hand is coming from the ceiling and grabbing you by the hair and your body and spine extends upwards towards the sky. The name Tree Pose is perfect for this posture because you will look like it in the pose. Picture yourself like a tree growing towards the sky. To assist in the lengthening of the spine to keep your chest lifted throughout the whole posture.
Bring your right hand towards your chest as if in half prayer, which in yoga is called Namaskar. Namaskar has the meaning in Sanskrit of "to bow" and is a traditional greeting in India. If you feel like you can release the right foot without losing your balance and your right foot remains on the left thigh, bring your left hand to your right hand in the middle of the chest in prayer to complete Namaskar. As in all yoga postures, make sure you are calmly breathing in and out of the nose. When you come out of the pose, do the same thing on the left side of the body.
The Tree Pose or Vrksasana in Sanskrit takes a lot of focus and patients to do it. As with all the yoga poses, new students will feel as if they need to rush into it, but you are better off being patient and focused and doing it piece by piece if required. When you get started, if you are having trouble picking up your foot with one hand, it is okay to pick up the foot with both hands. The posture is primarily a knee, ankle, thigh, and ankle opener and elongates the spine. Doing just tiny bits regularly of the Tree Pose should help you see and feel the results quickly. Thank you for reading this article about Tree Pose. Namaste.