With the holidays just around the corner, it’s easy to feel stressed and anxious about the cooking, cleaning, gift buying (we made it easy for you – link to gift guide) and traveling. We may feel like we don’t have enough time for ourselves, but this is when we need it the most. One of the best ways we take care of ourselves is carving out time for our yoga practice. It’s our “om” away from home, our place to unwind and relax from the hustle and bustle surrounding this time of year. What we truly crave is balance: taking care of what needs our attention, but also taking care of ourselves. Tree pose, or Vrksasana, is our one of our favorites this time of year as it makes us feel strong, rooted, and connected. Balancing postures on our mats teach us about finding balance in our lives. We know that sometimes we will be uprooted and shaken, but each time we get up and try again, we are learning something about ourselves and learning to ride the waves with a smile and a laugh. Inviting more balance into our lives this holiday season allows us to truly connect with our loved ones and our surroundings, as well as with ourselves.
How to get into Vrksasana safely:
1. Standing in Tadasana, root through the standing foot.
2. From Tadasana, step the feet hips width distance. Shift the weight into the left leg as it roots into the earth as the arch of the left foot activates.
3. Bend the right knee, begin to turn the knee out using the hip joint. Place the sole of the right foot on the inner thigh.
4. Find your drishti, bring the hands to prayer and lengthen the spine.
5. Press the foot into the thigh and the thigh into the foot for balance. Hug everything in to the midline.
6. Bring the knee forward as the foot releases, step it down and repeat on the opposite side.
To modify or go deeper into the pose:
Modified Vartion: Place the sole of the lifted leg on the opposite ankle or calf, or hold onto a wall for support.
Advanced Variation: Try “growing your branches’ and extend your arms out wide, or palms together above your head.
Cautions & Contraindications:
Do not place the lifted leg’s foot on the opposite knee, headache, insomnia, high/low blood pressure.