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Finding Balance In Yoga Tree Pose

in More Ways than One
yoga tree pose, As a preparation for yoga tree pose practice external rotation with weight on the other leg, then work at lifting the hip and knee while keeping the leg externally rotated. Next use a hand to position the foot against the inner thigh or try it without the hand. Then work at dropping the hip on the lifted leg side. sensational yoga poses.

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If you have difficulty with balancing in yoga tree pose, you can try shifting your weight forwards so that your toes press down into the floor. You can then use your toes to help you balance.

Prior to leaning forward, you may have to activate your foot so that the bones of your foot and ankle support each other.

Once you have stabilized your ankle you may then find it easier to use your toes to help you balance.

Difficulty Balancing in Tree Pose? Activate Your Feet

If you have week feet or ankles, or have difficulty controlling them, you can practice activating your feet while standing on both feet.

From there, you can try pressing the inner thigh of your standing leg backwards while keeping your knee pointing straight ahead. You may find that this action helps to make your standing leg more stable.

Do this while pressing foot into your inner thigh. (And press with the front of the foot and the heel.)

You can also work on resisting the foor pressure with the inner thigh of your standing leg. So as you press your foot into your inner thigh, press your inner thigh against your foot.

Some people find that in tree pose one side is easier than the other. Hopefully the following instructions can be used to help make both sides a little bit more equal.

Weight Shifting from Front to Back

So that you can get used to controlling your center while in yoga tree pose, you can practice shifting your weight forwards and backwards while balancing on both feet.

With your feet active, move your body forwards so that all of your weight is evenly on the fronts of your feet. In this position the fronts of your feet and toes should press down with equal pressure.

Now shift your weight so that it is over your heels. Allow the fronts of your feet to lift.

See how long you can balance in either position.

Use Your Toes to Help You Balance

You probably noticed that it was easier to balance with your weight over the fronts of your feet. That's because you could use your toes to help control your balance. Ideally you'll learn to balance easily on the fronts of your feet and on your heels but for now, you can practice balancing on one foot with your weight forwards. Use your toes to help you balance!

Your weight doesn't have to be all the way forwards, just forwards enough that your toes naturally press the floor. So, with both feet on the ground and your weight centered between them shift your weight forwards enough that your toes press into the floor. Remember to activate your feet first!

Now shift your weight onto your right foot. Feel the inner and outer edges of your right foot pressing down with equal pressure. Lift your left foot and balance.

Try the same thing on the other foot.

Switch back to your original foot and place your lifted foot against your inner thigh in tree pose. If you need to use your hand to help. Press your inner thigh with your heel and with your forefoot. Feel your knee reaching to the side and your hip joint opening.

If you can't get your foot up to your inner thigh then place it lower on your leg. Gradually work at lifting it higher.

Keep your center of gravity over your standing foot.

Stay aware of your standing foot and lengthen your tree pose upwards.

Smoothly and gradually lift your ribs up and away from your pelvis. Move your shoulders forwards so that your shoulder blades spread. Then reach your arms forwards and up so that your shoulder blades stay spread. Touch your hands together.

As an option you can also place your hands in front of your heart.

Can you do this with your eyes closed?

A Preparation Exercise for Yoga Tree Pose

Turn the right leg out 90 degrees. Rotate the thigh at the hip so that the knee and foot are turned out.

yoga tree pose preparation exercise, balancing on one foot with the other leg externally rotated. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
yoga tree pose preparation exercise, standing on one leg with the other leg lifted to the side. Knee and hip on lifted leg side are both lifted high. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

Lift the knee to the side keeping the thigh externally rotated at the hip. Give your right knee room to move higher by lifting the right hip higher also.

Work at closing the back of the knee joint so that the foot moves towards the opposite thigh. Note that as you lift the knee higher you actually move the foot further away from the thigh. But that is fine since the intent in this position is on lifting the knee and hip higher.

After holding for a few breaths use your hand to help position your foot on the inner thigh of the other leg.

yoga tree pose with front of the foot pressing against the inner knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
Yoga tree pose, using a hand to help position the foot higher on the inner thigh. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

With your foot against your inner thigh, gradually press the hip of the lifted leg down and at the same time press the foot against the inner thigh.

Yoga tree pose with the lifted leg hip slightly higher than the supporting leg hip. Neil Keleher, sensationaly yoga poses.
yoga tree pose with both sides of the hips reasonably level and the foot high up on the inner thigh. Neil Keleher, sensational yoga poses.

Resist with the standing leg, press the inner thigh against the foot.

To stay balanced, do all adjusting actions smoothly and slowly.

Do all "activations" (and that includes relaxing) slowly and smoothly so that it is easier to maintain balance.

Even if you are using a wall for support practice activating and relaxing smoothly and slowly so that you can do the same when you finally do start practicing balance at the same time.

Balancing the Sides in Yoga Tree Pose

If you find that one side is easier than the other in yoga tree pose, practice the hard side first, do the easy side and then do the hard side again.

Notice the differences in sensation between the hard side and the easy side. Look for a lack of sensation or excessive tension in the hard side compared to the easy side. Try to create sensation where it is lacking and try to reduce excessive tension.

Moving Between Isolated Awareness and Whole Body Awareness

When fault finding yoga tree pose, this is the time to move away from focused or isolated awareness to "all over" body awareness. You may find that if you focus too much on one thing you don't notice what's going on in other parts of the body.

And so move smoothly between isolated awareness and all over awareness. Where you find areas of interest, zoom in and isolate, and then zoom back out again.

For more single leg balancing, and how to stay balanced, check out Balancing on One Foot.

Staying Balanced While Moving into Tree Pose

Note that I think of tree pose as similiar to binding poses because one foot presses against the other thigh.

Published: 2014 04 30
Clearly defined poses, exercises and stretches for improving stability, body awareness and flexibility.
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