How to Do the Tree Pose

A single banyan, India's national tree, can cover up to an acre or more. In other words, they're stable—which is what you should keep in mind when you're balancing on one leg in the Tree Pose.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Mountain Pose Stand at the front of your mat with your feet hip-width apart and your weight evenly distributed between them, your spine erect, and your arms at your sides.
  • Step 2: Draw right heel up Shift your weight onto your left leg as you bend your right knee and draw your right heel up toward your pelvis.
  • Step 3: Place heel on left thigh Grab your heel with your hand and lift it up, placing your heel on the inner thigh of your left leg. Your toes should be pointing down your leg toward the mat and your knee should be facing out.
  • TIP: If you can only raise your heel as high as your knee, place it on your calf instead as it will strain the knee joint to rest it there.
  • Step 4: Drop tailbone Press the foot and inner thigh against each other and gently drop your tailbone toward the ground so that your lower back lengthens.
  • Step 5: Place hands Place your hands in front of your chest with your palms pressed together in a praying position.
  • Step 6: Extend arms Extend your arms overhead so they're near your ears and your elbows are straight, while keeping your hands in their prayer position.
  • TIP: If your neck or shoulders feel tense, leave your hands in front of your chest or place them on your hips.
  • Step 7: Focus eyes Focus your eyes on a fixed point a few feet in front of you and hold the pose for several slow, even breaths.
  • Step 8: Repeat pose Lower your foot to the mat, shift your weight to it, and repeat the pose on the left leg, for the same number of breaths.
  • Step 9: Release pose Release the pose by lowering your foot.
  • FACT: Thomas Edison planted the U.S.'s first banyan tree in 1925 on his estate in Florida, where it still flourishes.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothing suitable for stretching and moving
  • A calm place where you won't be distracted or disturbed
  • A yoga mat or folded blanket

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