Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Vrikshasana is an asana in which the doer performing the asana assumes the shape of a tree. Therefore it is called Vrikshasana or Tree Pose.
Vrikshasana or Tree Pose
Vriksha = Tree
BGF Asana = Pose, Posture
Vrikshasana represents and depicts the steady and graceful stance of a tree. Unlike other asanas, this asana needs you to keep your eyes open during the performance of the pose so that your body can balance itself.
Preparation for Vrikshasana
- Like most other asanas, it is best to practice Vrikshasana or tree pose on empty stomach. Between your meals and performing this asana, it is better to have a gap of 4-6 hours, i.e. Vrikshasana shall be done 4-6 hours after taking food, by this time the stomach would be empty and you would have gained sufficient energy to perform the pose.
- Vrikshasana yields optimum benefits if it is practiced early in the morning. In unavoidable circumstance when you are stuck in some other work and unable to do this asana in the day time, it can be done in the later part of the day (evening) following the principles of food tagged with it (given in the above paragraph)
- Vrikshasana involves high levels of focus and concentration. Morning is the best time to channelize the focus and concentration, when the mind is fresh and unblemished. At this part of the day, one’s mind would be clear of the worries, tensions and stress related to the happenings of the material world.
Method of doing Vrukshasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Stand erect on a flat ground.
- Drop your upper limbs (arms) on the side of your body.
Performing and getting to the Vrikshasana
- After having positioned yourself, slightly bend your right knee and lift your right upper limb, towards the left thigh.
- Place your right foot high up on the inner part of your left thigh. Make sure that the sole of your right foot is placed firmly and flat on the root of your left thigh.
- While doing this make sure that your left leg is not shuffled. It needs to be absolutely erect.
- After assuming this position, stand still, breathe easily and try to find your balance, on your left leg.
- Now inhale. Gently raise your upper limbs (arms) over your head, as you inhale. Bring both your hands together and join them together in a ‘Namaste’ mudra (Indian method of salute with folded hands). Now the joined fingers of both your hands point towards the ceiling.
- As you find your balance on one leg, look straight at a distant object and hold your gaze on that object. This will further help you to maintain your balance.
- Keep your spine straight. Your body needs to be taut and elastic at this juncture.
- Take in deep breaths, and every time you exhale, relax your body more. Make sure to hold on to the balance.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Gently bring down your upper limbs down from the sides. Position them by the side of your body as was at the beginning of the asana.
- While bringing down your arms, release your right leg by detaching it from your left thigh. Slowly bring your right leg down to the floor.
- Come back to the original position of standing tall and straight, assuming the position of ease with which you were standing at the beginning of the asana.
- Repeat the entire pose with the left leg. Here you need to gradually lift your left leg and place your left foot supported on the inner part of your right thigh. Lift both upper limbs above your head and fold them in the pose of Namaste mudra, by bringing both hands together. Stand in the position of balance. Here you are balancing on your right lower limb. After few minutes of balancing release yourself and come to the neutral position (the position in which you had started the asana).
Advanced pose (variation of Vrikshasana)
- To enhance your stability, you could stretch both your upper limbs (arms) on your sides and place them on the wall beside you. This would provide maximum support while you do the asana.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Vrikshasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas (preparatory poses) –
- Virabhadrasana II
- Baddha Konasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Vrikshasana Poses)
After performing Vrikshasana, one can perform the standing poses as follow-up poses.
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Vrikshasana?
One can stay in Vrikshasana approximately for 1 minute on each leg (1 minute on right leg altered by 1 minute on left leg). This shall be repeated 5 times on each leg.
Health Benefits of Vrikshasana
- Tree Pose supports and strengthens the spine.
- This asana helps in improving both your balance of the body and posture.
- Vrukshasan tones and strengthens your leg muscles.
- This asana provides good strength to the ligaments and tendons of your feet.
- Vrikshasanam makes the knee joints stronger and provides good flexibility in these joints. Movements also become easy.
- The asana also loosens the hip joints and removes the tightness. The movements at the hip joints become flexible and easy.
- Vrikshasan is a good remedy for those suffering from flat feet.
- It is an effective practice for those suffering from leg pain and sciatica.
- This pose helps to deepen the thorax.
- The shoulder joints, eyes and inner ears are also strengthened by this pose.
- It improves and aids neuromuscular coordination in the body.
- It increases your stability, flexibility and makes you patient enough to tolerate the hardships of life.
- It enhances concentration and also activates all the mental faculties.
Effect of Vrikshasana – Ayurveda Explanation:
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Vrikshasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Vrikshasana balances and calms Vayu. This asana brings about a balance of Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. By doing so, itbrings stability, integration, flexibility of the body and also establishes a good synchronization between the nervous system and muscles which enable us to hold on to good postures and balance throughout our life. The balance of these dosha subtypes also will enable synchronized movements and locomotion of the body. tree pose, by balancing the Vata subtypes enhances concentration and memory and thought processes. It makes one mentally settled and relaxed. Tree Pose is thus one of the best anti-stress remedies. It helps one to explore one’s balance and to know oneself to optimum levels. This balance also brings about the mental balance and our ability to balance the disproportionate happenings of our body and to bring them to a balance. Vrikshasana also soothes the nerves and is thus a good remedy for Vata Rogas i.e. prevents and cures neurological and degenerative disorders.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Vrikshasana on Dhatus –
It mainly strengthens the mamsa (muscle tissue) and asthi dhatu (bone tissues). It also strengthens the snayu and kandaras (ligaments and tendons) of the limbs. Vrikshasana thus strengthens the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the lower limb (hip, knee, ankle joints) and upper limbs (shoulders). Pada or foot or lower limb is one of the Karmendriyas (organs of motor importance) in Ayurveda. We have evolved on our foot. Feet help us in finding balance of our life and grounding phenomenon. Vrikshasana strengthens the foot, removes the pain and other ailments related to food, strengthens the joints of the lower limb, strengthens the calf muscles and makes our locomotion easy and also to find balance and postural correction.
Vrikshasana, what it promises!
Vrikshasana is mainly a balancing posture. Its main benefit is that it helps in improvising your balance and enhances the ability of functioning of your nervous system. When you are balanced, you automatically focus your mind. As you focus your mind, you will realize that you are gradually balancing yourself. When you balance self, you get confident and life becomes easier to handle.
Wandering and uncontrolled mind always puts the body into dys-rhythm and causes imbalances in your body. This also leads to many disorders related to imbalance and postural disturbances. The neuro-conductivity and integration gets weak along with hormonal imbalances and one suffers from lot of body-mind issues. Lot of stress hormones are released due to disturbed mind. Stress and tension will prevent you from finding your balance. Vrikshasana will revert this cycle and helps you in finding unparalleled balance, posture and bliss.
While stabilizing your body and mind through stretching, Vrikshasana also strengthens your joints and bones and expands your chest and hips. It helps in loosening your shoulders and tones up your arms, makes them strong. Since the asana opens your chest, it helps in easy breathing and circulation by balancing Vyana and Udana Vayu.
Impact on Chakras
Vrikshasana helps in balancing the Anahata Chakra and Ajgna Chakra. By balancing these Chakras, Vrikshasana helps in finding our balance, knowing ourselves, improve our concentration and focus, in proper circulation of nutrients in the body and in strengthening our body and mind to optimum levels.
Its main role is in balancing Agna Chakra. It is the center of clarity and wisdom. It is the boundary between human and divine consciousness. Therefore Vrikshasana, by balancing this chakra brings clarity of thoughts and enhances our wisdom.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Vrikshasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Vrikshasana –
- Migraine headache
- Insomnia (sleeplessness)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) – Those who have high blood pressure, should not raise their upper limbs above the level of their head for a long time period, rather avoid doing it. They can hold their hands jointed in the ‘anjali’ mudra in front of their chest.
Remember – While practicing Vrikshasana, ensure that the sole of the lifted foot is placed in opposition to the inner part of the thigh of the leg which is still, either above or just below the knee joint but never beside knee joint. Placing the foot beside the knee joint puts pressure on the knee as it does not flex parallel to the frontal plane. This may lead to pain and discomfort in the knee joint and you may not be able to find the right balance or do the asana for its entire length.
Just Before Finish
A healthy body needs to be complimented and supplemented by a healthy and balanced, serene mind if we have to enjoy a comprehensive health. For this to happen we need to strike balance between the body and mind. Vrikshasana is one of the best asanas which help us to find our balance and also in balancing the body and mind, and their coordination. The body and mind will work in synchronization and we can enjoy perfect health and bliss. Vrikshasana, apart from activating our metabolism also helps to stabilize the mind. In this article I have covered in depth about Vrikshasana, the method of doing it and the benefits it bestows in providing us the right balance, postural corrections, curing many diseases and strengthening our spine and joints.
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