Vṛkṣāsana - Tree Pose

  1. Stand with your feet together making sure that they are level with each other and the midlines of the feet are parallel (to one another).

  2. Relax into your breath until you feel a decrease of pressure around the heart and an increase in clarity. (The breath will start to have a settling influence).

  3. Centre yourself on the middle of your heel bones and ensure that the whole circumference of both heels is in even contact with the ground. Continue to decrease pressure on the heart/mind and allow your internal intuition to increase so that sensitivity spreads through the whole foot, make even contact then with the balls of the feet without disturbing the heels.

  4. Allow the increasingly sensitive adjustments in the feet to influence the legs up to the pelvis.

  5. Create uprightness in both legs by drawing up both foot arches towards the pelvis.

  6. Activate the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) paying particular attention to the vastus group (the deeper layer of the quads each connecting the knee cap tendon to the top of the thigh/inner front/middle front/outer front) first, so that you feel an evenness in the knee joints developing. Then add lift in the rectus femoris (also from kneecap tendon but to the pelvis, therefore allowing it to flex the hip joint, either pulling the knee up towards the hip or pulling hip towards the leg). As you work on this muscle, the leg will straighten further, but don’t allow the front groin to close.

  7. Lift up from top front thigh to breast bone without swaying the lower back forwards. Top thigh bones stays back, buttock creases deepen (between top of each thigh and lower buttock), outer hip joints draw in (towards mid line of body). Inner legs lift. Spine lifts, outer body softens. Belly flat, breast bone up, deepen armpits, release the shoulders. Keep head lightly balanced.

  8. Using your right hand take your right foot up into the left inner groin.

  9. Heel up into groin toes pointing down.

  10. Bring your hands in front of your chest with the heel of the hands at the xiphoid process. Imagine resistance beneath the heels of the hands which you press into to help lift and broaden the breast bone. (Alternatively raise the arms straight above you in line with the side ribs. By taking the shoulder blades away from the spine as you lift the arms outwards then up to raise the arms vertically. Use the extension in the legs and the drawing up of the body beneath the arms to help with the lift from below.)

  11. Shoulder blades down.

  12. Within the framework of balancing, relax until you feel a deepening of your connection to the pose.

  13. Press the heel into the thigh and the thigh into the heel , thereby lengthening the inner thigh, groin to knee.

  14. Shorten the outer thigh (on bent leg) in harmony with lengthening the inner.

  15. Work in a focused and pressure-free way.

  16. Keep the head upright.

  17. Stay for 10 to 30 breaths.

  18. Place your foot down.

  19. Repeat on second side after going through the initial stages standing on both feet again.