The name comes from the Sanskrit words vṛkṣa (वृक्ष) meaning “tree”, and āsana (आसन) meaning “posture”.
History of Tree Pose
A 7th-century stone carving in Mahabalipuram appears to contain a figure standing on one leg, perhaps indicating that a pose similar to vrikshasana was in use at that time. It is said that sadhus disciplined themselves by choosing to meditate in the pose.
The pose is described in the 17th century Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā.
Description of Tree Pose
From Tadasana, weight is shifted to one leg, for example, starting with the left leg. The entire sole of the foot remains in contact with the floor. The right knee is bent and the right foot placed on the left inner thigh, or in half lotus position. In either foot placement, the hips should be open, with the bent knee pointing towards the side. With the toes of the right foot pointing directly down, the left foot, center of the pelvis, shoulders and head are all vertically aligned. Hands are typically held above the head either pointed directly upwards and unclasped, or clasped together in anjali mudra. The asana is typically held for 20 to 60 seconds, returning to tadasana while exhaling, then repeating standing on the opposite leg.
Benefits of Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
- Improves balance and stability in the legs.
- Strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet.
- Strengthens and tones the entire standing leg, up to the buttocks.
- Assists the body in establishing pelvic stability.
- Strengthen the bones of the hips and legs due to the weight-bearing nature of the pose.