Practising the ‘tree pose’, or ‘vrksasana’, can help to strengthen your thighs, calves and ankles. It can also help to improve your sense of balance and your ability to concentrate and focus.
- Stand on your yoga mat with your feet together toes, inner ankles and heels touching.
- Lift the knee caps and draw the front of the thighs back.
- Keep the spine extended and chest lifted.
- Shift the weight over to the left foot.
- Bend the right leg, catch hold of the right foot, bringing the knee out to the side. If you begin to struggle with balance at this point, move to a clear wall area and stand so your back lightly touches the wall and continue.
- Place the sole of the right foot high on the inside of the left thigh, the toe facing downwards.
- (When beginning, the foot can sit against the ankle with toes on the floor or on the calf.)
- Keeping the left leg strong and steady, extend the arms straight over the head, palms together. Find a fixed point to look at either ahead of you or on the floor – this will help you keep your balance.
- Exhale, lower the right foot to the floor, take the arms down and repeat on the left side.
- If this pose comes easy to you, try challenging your balance by closing your eyes!
Note: Avoid raising your arms if you have high blood pressure, and take advise from your yoga teacher if you have knee injury, heart issues or low blood pressure, as a supine version of the pose might be more suitable.
Lee Kennedy qualified with The BKS Iyengar Yoga Association UK, the YTTC and Ana Forrest of Forrest Yoga. She specialises in pregnancy-related yoga and also studied with Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth Foundation, UK. Visit Yogadara.com or call 0863906343 for more information.