Tall, strong, and uncomplaining, the tree is the embodiment of tolerance. It endures wind and rain, blazing sun, and icy winters. Without discrimination, the tree offers its soothing shade to anyone sitting under its branches. Meditate on the virtue of tolerance as you stand steady and grounded in this pose.
- Stand in Mountain Pose, then transfer your weight to your left foot.
- Gaze at a fixed point in front of you to help keep you steady. Now raise your right leg, placing your heel at the top of your left inner thigh, toes pointing down. Keep your hips facing forward while pressing your right knee back slightly.
- Bring your palms together in front of your chest in the prayer position.
- When you feel steady, slowly raise your arms above your head, keeping your shoulders down. Lengthen through your waist as you stretch your torso upward, gently contracting your abdomen. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds with smooth, even breathing.
- Bring your hands back to prayer position, then lower your foot to the floor and repeat on the other side.
Let your weight sink down into the foot you’re standing on, as if roots were extending from your foot into the earth. Then lift away from that base, lengthening your spine. Lift your rib cage and expand your chest as your arms reach for the sky like the tree’s branches.
Make It Easier
- Learn this pose in two stages: First practice extending your arms above your head to loosen your shoulders. Then practice balancing on one leg with your hands in prayer position. When that becomes easy, combine the two.
- Instead of bringing your heel into the groin, rest your foot just above your inner knee or against the inside of your lower leg.
- Raise your arms with your hands shoulder-width apart, wider if your shoulders are tight.
- Use a wall: Either stand with your back against the wall or stand side-on with one hand or your bent knee touching the wall.
- Improves your concentration and balance
- Strengthens your ankles, legs, and feet
- Tones your back and chest muscles
- Loosens your hips