How do I perform the tree pose in yoga?

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Dawn Marcus
Neurology
The tree pose in yoga is a still, balancing pose that can serve as a standing meditation to bring calm to the body and mind.

Start from standing. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left leg, being mindful to not press into the knee. Bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart center, gaze at your fingertips for five breaths. Modify this position by placing your right foot at your ankle with your toe touching the floor.

Take five additional breaths, release, and switch to the left side. After the left side, fold forward and step back to plank position. Lower yourself to the floor, open to cobra, and press back to downward facing dog.
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To perform the torso twist pose, follow these steps:

  1. Stand in Tadasana. Shift your weight slightly onto the left foot, keeping the inner foot firm to the floor, and bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle.
  2. Draw your right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh; if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. The center of your pelvis should be directly over the left foot.
  3. Rest your hands on the top rim of your pelvis. Make sure the pelvis is in a neutral position, with the top rim parallel to the floor.
  4. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Firmly press the right foot sole against the inner thigh and resist with the outer left leg. Press your hands together in Anjali Mudra. Gaze softly at a fixed point in front of you on the floor about 4 or 5 feet away.
  5. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Step back to Tadasana with an exhalation and repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed.
The tree pose is great for improving concentration and practicing meditation, and also gives the added benefit of building strength and improving balance. Stand with your side next to a wall. Or use a chair for balance, if you find it difficult to stand on one foot. Stand up straight with big toes touching. Spread the soles of the feet and feel the whole bottom of the feet supporting your weight. Spread the toes wide and engage the leg muscles so the legs feel strong. Rotate the right hip and knee outward so the right knee points to the right wall. The left knee and foot point forward. Lift the right leg and place the sole of the foot on the inner left leg. You can place the foot on the inner ankle, knee, or thigh, depending on your flexibility. Keep the left leg strong and straight, like a tree trunk.

Hold the posture and breathe, keeping the mind calm. If you find it easy to balance on one leg, raise the arms overhead. Continue to keep the left leg strong as you straighten your arms and reach upward toward the sky. Your palms can face each other, or you can bring the palms together. As you reach up, stretch the sides of the torso, keeping the back straight and long. Relax the shoulders down and try not to tense the neck and shoulders. Repeat standing on the right leg, with left leg raised. 
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.