Vrikshasana (Sanskrit: वृक्षासन, romanized: vṛkṣāsana) or Tree Pose is a balancing asana. It is one of the very few standing poses in medieval hatha yoga, and remains popular in modern yoga as exercise.
Etymology and origins
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 2.36.
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.
In Bikram Yoga, Tree Pose (called "Tadasana" in Bikram Yoga) is a slightly different standing posture, with one leg folded in Padmasana and the hands together over the chest in prayer position. It is followed by bending the straight leg into a squatting position (called Toe Stand or "Padangustasana" in Bikram Yoga) with the heel raised and the thigh resting on the calf and heel, the other leg remaining in (half) Padmasana.
Variant with one leg in Padmasana
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- Iyengar 1979, p. 62.
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- Mehta 1990, p. 21.
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