Tree, or vrksasana, is a fundamental pose in the yoga practice and I teach it in almost all of my classes. If done correctly, tree pose works to open the hips and develop good balance. I appreciate all of the one-legged balances because of the amazing work that is accomplished in the standing foot. There are four layers of muscle in the foot and all of them get a workout in tree pose and other standing balances.
Aging gracefully is one of the themes that run through all of my classes and good balance is one key to ageing well. If you know of older people who have physical problems, poor balance every often tops the list of issues, and a fall very often precipitates a steep decline. Mobility is an essential ingredient in successful ageing.
Tree pose tends to magnify all of the postural problems that I see in most people. Readers of the blog know that I think almost everyone leans backwards and almost everyone tucks their pelvis under. I think these are two of the leading causes of chronic back pain.
Standing upright requires having the pelvis in a neutral position with the legs directly under the pelvis and the shoulders directly in line with the hips. This is easier said than done if you have a lifetime of conditioned patterns that have thrown off the reciprocal relationships of key muscle groups.
Check out the video above to see how tree can be a great pose to help you learn how to stand up straight. Also check out my hip hike. Ideally in this pose the pelvis is level and you can see how the right side of the pelvis is way higher than the left. I’ll address the issue of hip hike in a future post.