One of yoga's biggest benefits is that it helps you build better balance, which helps with any number of other physical activities. It's often touted by professional athletes as the yoga advantage. It also becomes a huge issue as your body ages. Good balance and a strong core will go a long way in helping you stay active and healthy.
Tree pose is usually the first standing balance pose that is taught to yoga beginners because it's the simplest.
The most important thing to work on in tree is making sure that the pressure of your lifted foot on your standing leg doesn't cause that side's hip to stick out. The hips should stay as square as possible, just as if you still has both feet on the floor in mountain pose. The second most important thing is to keep your sense of humor about learning to stand on one leg. It's harder than it looks at first and will be different every day. Don't get frustrated if you are tippy and fall over at first. It's all part of the process and you are improving all the time, even if it doesn't always feel like it.
Ways to Control Prana With More Than the Traditional Breath
Type of pose: Balancing, standing
Benefits: Strengthens legs and core, improves balance.
1. Come to stand in mountain pose - tadasana with your hands in Anjali mudra at your heart center.
2. Take a moment to feel both your feet root into the floor with your weight distributed equally on all four corners of each foot.
3. Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don't lock the knee.
4. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh.
5. Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh back into your foot with equal pressure.
This will help you keep both hips squared towards the front so your right hip doesn't jut out.
6. Focus your gaze ( Drishti) on something that doesn't move to help you keep your balance.
7. Take five to ten breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and do the other side.
1. If your left foot doesn't come easily to the upper right thigh, bring it lower on the right leg. The right calf is a good option. Be careful to avoid placing the left foot directly on the side of the right knee since that puts your joint in a vulnerable position. You can even put the left foot on your right ankle and keep your left toes on the floor as a little kickstand if that's the best fit for your body.
2. Use the wall for balance if necessary. You can lean your butt against the wall or turn so that your left knee comes in contact with the wall when it's in its lifted position.
3. Make sure that your left knee doesn't creep forward toward the center line. Keep it pointing to the left.
How to do Vrksasana, Tree Pose: yoga balance pose
Vrksasana – The roots of a tree provide the foundation for its body and branches, so our feet and legs provide the support for our upper body to stand with strength and grace. Balance poses demonstrate our state of mind. Focus is necessary to maintain a steady balance if the mind is jumping from one thought to another.
1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and draw your awareness to your feet. Gradually transfer the weight to your right foot. Spread the toes and make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Visualise the sole of your right foot rooted to the earth.
2. If you find balancing difficult place the ball of your left foot on top of the right foot. Pressing down makes balancing easier, lightly placing the foot on top makes it more difficult.
3. Place the left foot on the inside of the right knee. The raised knee points out to the side.
4. Place the sole of the raised foot on the inside of the supporting thigh. Push both legs together. Be careful not to push the supporting hip out to the side and out of alignment. Work the raised knee back, opening the hip.
5. Bring the palms together in front of the chest. Original text too short.Shoulders down and back. Lift and spread the chest.
6. When steady in position 1, keep the hands together and raise the arms over the head with the elbows bent. Work on bringing the elbows back while keeping palms together and shoulders down.
7. Eventually you will be able to keep the hands together over the head and straighten the elbows. Hold steady and breathe deelply.