Asana of the Month – Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

Yoga teacher and journalist Carol Krucoff writes that, in some traditions, the pose is called Bhagirathasana, “to honor a great yogi king from India who—legend says—stood on one leg for a long time to appease the Hindu god Shiva and to be allowed to bring the sacred river Ganges from heaven to earth.” According to Kausthub Desikachar, son and student of the yoga master T.K.V. Desikachar, the pose “represents the intense penance of Bhagiratha… It’s supposed to motivate us to work toward our goal even if there are many obstacles in the way… The point is to make a dedicated effort to one’s practice,” he says. “It makes us strong, it enhances our willpower, and we achieve amazing benefits.” “Vrksasana can bring a wonderful sense of inner peace,” adds Krucoff. “It teaches you how to be both strong and supple, to be rooted without being rigid. A tree must be able to sway in the wind—or risk having its branches or trunk snap… .”
[C. Krucoff, “Find Your Roots,” yogajournal.com]

Vrksasana (Tree Pose):
Vrksa = tree

Benefits (according to Yoga Journal):
• Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
• Stretches the inner thighs, groins, chest, and shoulders
• Improves sense of balance
• May help relieve sciatica and reduce flat feet

Cautions/Contraindications:
• Headache
• Insomnia
• Low blood pressure
• High blood pressure (don’t lift arms overhead)

Preparatory Poses:
• Baddha Konasana
• Utthita Trikonasana
• Virabhadrasana II

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:
Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” (featured in the 1995 film Clueless)

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