āsana lab: inner axis’ vṛkṣāsana

Vṛkṣāsana is a symbol of growth and strength, just as the tree for which this pose is named is rooted and grounded, cultivating patience, stability and adaptability.

An excellent form of standing meditation, focus on the breath and the mind will naturally sharpen and grow still. Building both strength and flexibility,  vṛkṣāsana opens the hips, groins and inner thighs, whilst strengthening the ankles, calves, thighs and spine. Beneficial for all ages and levels, it builds bone density and aids proprioception, or awareness of the position of one’s body in space.

A wall to help balance is a great prop for this posture and supta vṛkṣāsana (reclined tree pose) offers opportunity to focus on alignment of the hips. Advanced practitioners may challenge their balance and focus further by standing on a block, closing the eyes or taking the lifted foot into half lotus.

Begin in tāḍāsana (mountain pose). Keeping the feet in a neutral position, transition your weight onto the left foot. As you ground down through the standing foot, spread the toes and stabilise the ankle by lifting the inner arch of the foot. Actively draw upward through the shin, knee cap and thigh muscle.

If you’re new to the pose, rest the right heel to the inner left ankle, keeping toes to the floor as you bend your right knee. To advance, place the right foot above or below the knee, to the inner left shin or upper, inner thigh. Build stability in tree pose and hug everything towards the midline of the body. The lifted foot can sometimes slip, therefore draw your sole more firmly onto the leg and hug your leg back onto the sole of the foot.

The position of the pelvis is neutral and both hip points face directly forward. Be aware not to jeopardise the position of the hips by taking the foot too high or knee too wide. This can counteract the form of the pose and change the whole structure of alignment in the body. Once your base is well rooted and defined, take your attention to the trunk (torso).

Draw the lower abdominals in and up, as you lengthen your tailbone down. Lift up through both sides of the waist, drawing your lower front ribs in and broadening through the middle back. Release the shoulders down, bring your palms together in prayer (añjali mudrā) in front of the chest, mimicking the action of the legs by pressing the palms together.

Lift up through the crown of the head and soften your gaze and jaw. The eye line is straight ahead to the horizon — this is your dṛṣṭi, your focal point of the pose.

As with everything in life, work with what you have and what feels accessible to you. With all balancing postures, there is an element of movement- physical and energetically. This is both positive and expected.

Breathe deeply as the mind has time to settle. Stand rooted like a glorious tree to the earth.

Rebecca teaches triyoga hot on Sundays at 17:30 – 18:30 and Mondays at 12:00 – 13:00 in Camden and on Sundays at 12:45 – 14:00 in Shoreditch. She also teaches Inner Axis on Tuesdays at 18:15 – 19:30 in Camden. 

 

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