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Poses by Type

Tree Pose

Tree Pose, called Vrksasana in Sanskrit, establishes strength and balance in the legs, and helps you feel centered, steady, and grounded.

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How to Say

vrksa = tree

Tree Pose Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. From Tadasana, bend the right knee and place the right foot high on the left inner thigh, taking the hands to the hips
  2. Allow the right knee to be as far forward in space as will keep the frontal hipbones square so there is no rotation in the pelvis
  3. Make sure the standing foot continues to point straight forward and press the right foot and the left inner thigh against each other
  4. Notice that the right hip is hiked up higher than the left, shortening the right waist; descend the right sitting bone towards the left heel
  5. Observe how the body compensates: the left thigh bows forward, and the left outer hip protrudes
  6. To correct, press the left thigh bone back and firm the left outer hip into the midline
  7. Keeping the pelvis squared to the wall you are facing, carefully draw the right knee back to deepen the external rotation in the hip
  8. Only draw the knee back to the extent you can keep the hips square
  9. Raise the arms without flaring the front ribs
  10. If able to keep the arms straight, reach up, touch palms and take the gaze to the thumbs
  11. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths
  12. To exit, use an exhale to release back to Tadasana


Tree Pose Cues

Contraindications and Cautions of Tree Pose

  •  Particularly avoid putting your foot on your inner knee if you have any knee pain, knee injuries (especially knee ligament injuries), or knee arthritis. Instead, place your foot on your calf or inner thigh.
  • If you are at risk for fall, try pose modifications like holding onto a chair or wall.
  • If you have shoulder pain, numbness, tingling, or shooting when you lift your arm, try keeping your hand on your hips.
  • Don’t force your body into the pose; instead, move slowly and mindfully in and out of the pose.
  • If you have any pain with the pose or other limitations, try pose variations and modifications, or visualize doing the full expression of the pose in any position. Always ask your health care team if you are unsure of what you can and cannot do with your particular health concerns. Also, seek a qualified yoga instructor or yoga therapist to help you individually adapt.

Benefits of Tree Pose

  • Improves balance
  • Improves postural and body awareness
  • Can boost energy and fight fatigue
  • Can help build confidence and empowerment
  • Improves posture and counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting and doing computer work
  • Assists in calming and relaxing the mind to relieve anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Strengthens your core
  • Stretches around your shoulders and latissimus dorsi

Standing Leg:

  •  Strengthens your thigh, buttock (glute), and ankle

Lifted Leg:

  • Gently stretches your inner thigh and front of thigh (quadriceps) while strengthening your outer thigh and buttock (glute)

See also 3 Ways to Safely Modify Tree Pose

3 Ways to Modify Tree Pose

1. Tree Pose on Calf

  • Try with your foot on your calf rather than inner thigh.
  • Especially avoid putting your foot on your inner knee if you have any knee pain, arthritis, or injuries.

2. Tree pose with Kickstand

  • Try with your toes at the ground and your lifted foot pressed against your ankle into a kickstand.
  • Your hands can be in any position, including together at heart center.

3. Tree Pose in Chair

  • Try this version seated in a chair.
  • Bring one leg forward with your knee mostly straight.
  • Bring the other knee out to the side, opening your hip.
  • You can use a block under your lifted foot or simply bring that ankle to the opposite shin.
  • Your arms can be raised into a big V shape.
  • Hold for several breaths, then repeat on the other side.

How to Partner or Assist in Tree Pose

If you are practicing Vrksasana with arms raised overhead, a partner can help you lift and lengthen your arms. First raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Have your partner stand behind you and press inward against your outer upper arms, then lift your outer arms toward the ceiling. At the same time, draw your inner arms downward, from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders.

Preparatory Poses for Tree Pose

Follow up poses for Tree pose

  • Mountain
  • Wide-Legged Standing Forward bend

Sequencing Tip

To prep for this pose, open up your hips to ensure optimal mobility, and focus on balancing postures focusing on drishti (gaze) throughout your practice to prepare for Tree Pose.