Open Up Your Hips With One Of Yoga's Most Popular Balancing Postures
Tree pose (or vrksasana in Sanskrit) is a classic standing and balancing posture found across many different styles of yoga. And not only is it beginner-friendly, but it's possible to modify it for any skill level. Here's how to do it properly, as demonstrated by certified yoga instructor Phyllicia Bonanno.
How to do tree pose, vrksasana
- Start in a standing position.
- Ground down through your left foot. Bend your right knee, and bring your right foot to your left ankle, the lower part of your leg, or your inner thigh (whatever you prefer and feels best).
- Stretch your arms up to the sky, or bring hands to heart center.
- Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and release.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Tips, form tips & modifications:
- Do not lock your standing knee.
- To help with balance, gaze softly ahead at something still in front of you.
- To challenge your balance, try closing your eyes or swaying your arms like branches in the wind.
- Keep the tailbone tucked under to help open up the hips.
- Keep the core active and the spine straight.
- From tree pose, you can come into toe stand for a deep hip opener that also challenges your balance.
- Try a supported tree pose with a block if you deal with knee pain.
What are the benefits?
Tree pose truly offers a combination of everything yoga is all about: balance, flexibility, strength, and concentration. It also helps to improve focus, awareness, and concentration.
Along with being great for the mind, it's great for the body—strengthening the spine, legs, and ankles. It's a juicy hip opener, as well, perfect for anyone who deals with stiff or tight hips.
As an especially grounding posture, tree pose is also great for working with the root chakra.
The bottom line is, there's a reason tree pose is incorporated into so many yoga sequences: It has a ton of benefits and virtually anyone can do it in some shape or form. So the next time you want to tap your concentration or open up your hips, take a quick tree pose wherever you're standing.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.