Tree Pose or Tadasana is the 11th standing pose in the Bikram Series. It stretches the spine and improves posture and balance, while increasing the flexibility of the ankles, knees and hip joints. According to Bikram, Tree Pose, more than any other posture, reveals the curious differences in human flexibility. Many children naturally have the ability to place one foot on the opposite thigh and balance. Many adults, however, lose this hip flexibility over time due to the seated nature of modern life. You can have the flexibility of a ballerina and the strength of a bodybuilder and still struggle with this pose. Without focus and balance, Tree will be impossible.
• Focus your gaze on a spot in front of you. Relax and concentrate by deepening your breath.
• Balance on the left leg. Without a stable trunk, there can be no tree, so without a strong standing leg, there can be no tree pose.
• Hold the right foot high up in front of the left upper thigh with the right hand.
• Keep the sole of the right foot facing the ceiling.
• Straighten the spine and make sure that the tailbone is lengthening down, the ribs are drawn in and the shoulders are pulled back instead of rounding forward.
• Focus on pushing your hips forward and bringing your knee back to keep your leg on your thigh without slipping.
• Keep opening the right hip and working the right knee down and back until both knees are in one line. If the right leg stays above the left thigh, bring both hands into prayer in front of the chest, making sure this doesn’t encourage the bottom to stick back.
• Repeat on the opposite side.
Regular practice of Tree Pose, will gradually open your hip joints and bring your spine into correct alignment, correcting poor posture. By strengthening the internal oblique muscles, Tree prevents hernia. Tree also relieves abdominal tension and lower back pain. Tree serves as the foundation for the last standing posture in the Bikram series: Toe Stand or Padangustasana (which we will highlight next week).
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