This pose offers so much to the yogi.
Physically standing on one leg makes that leg work hard to become strong and stable, mentally the mind is focused as
it concentrates on developing balance, psycho-spiritually the pose puts us in touch with the essence of the earth and the
Remember that trees come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one perfect pose of Vrkasana.
Stand in Tadasana (upright) with the weight evenly shared between both feet. Feel the crown of
the head lifting to the sky. Transfer your weight into one foot – pause. Lift
the other foot from the ground starting with the heel. When you are JUST touching the ground with the big
toe – pause and make sure you are balanced. Carefully lift the foot from the ground.
If balance is a problem keep the big toe touching the ground and turn the
heel in to rest on the other foot. The toe acts like an outrigger on a canoe. Or take
the foot out to the side a foot or so again just touching the ground to give reassurance. The `balancing
foot` can act rather like the aerial roots of the banyan tree. Keep as much weight as possible in the foot
you intend balancing on.
If possible place the lifted foot to rest on
the balancing foot, or push the sole of the foot against the inside of the calf, over the knee joint, or against the inner
thigh (difficult if you are wearing slippery clothing).
may be able to comfortably cross the foot across the groin of the balancing leg as shown in the photograph.
Pause and make sure your balance is secure.
Bring the hands together in the position of Anjali Mudra and mentally honour the spirit of the tree – Namaste.
When your balance is secure take the arms out to the side like tree branches. Feel yourself growing
like a tree as you stretch your arms wide, or up to the sky. Let your fingers become your leaves opening
them to the light.
Become your favourite tree: the Lombardy poplar grows tall and thin – stretch your arms
high and bring the hands together. Garden trees are often pruned into lollipop shapes – make a circle
with your arms. Oak and beech trees spread tall and broad, and Weeping willows hang their branches to sweep
across the water in the wind – band over and let your arms hang loose and sway.
Trees grow with strong roots to hold them firm – make your feet be your roots. The trunk
has to be both strong to support the top of the tree, but also flexible to respond to winds and storms – feel your leg
and trunk and the constant minor balance reflex movements.
Enjoy your `treeness`
and after 30 seconds or more if you are comfortable slowly return to Tadasana in the reverse order.