Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, is one of the most popular balance postures in many asana classes, for good reason. As we are entering into February, and many partner classes are popping up in my newsfeed, I thought it would be fun to write about how to practice this pose together with a loved one! There are some surprising changes to the feel of this pose when practiced as a partner pose.
Vrksasana has many benefits.
- The grounding energy of rooting into the earth as we sense our feet. This strengthens feet, legs and hips.
- The sense of lengthening, as we stand tall and extend towards the heavens is empowering.
- Engagement of the core stabilizers improves postural strength and brings a sense of spaciousness on every level.
- Connecting the hands together brings the right and left hemispheres of the brain together, and symbolizes a complete circle. A tree is so perfectly at ease in the balance of life, harmonious in the changes that come with the seasons and cycles.
- We learn how to be stable in our balance and yet without rigidity, allowing for the body’s natural adjustments needed to stay in the pose. Emotional stability can be found.
- Keeping the gaze steady in a soft drishti, teaches us to be relaxed, focused and absorbed into our breath.
- Reaching our arms overhead challenges our balance and shows us the direction we must grow.
Some interesting things happen when we practice this as a partner pose, and trees are yet again a beautiful example of this very thing in nature. Let us look at the humble aspen, one of the most common trees in Canada.
In it’s natural environment, aspen groves are propagated by it’s own roots, with saplings sprouting up from the lateral shoots of the adult tree. They share the work of absorbing water and nutrients, nourishing the entire system as one. They protect and strengthen each other. All of the trees that look so independant are actually part of one root system, genetically identical, intimately connected. The average lifespan of an aspen tree in it’s natural environment is 150 years. Because it is a tree indigenous to our region, it is a popular landscaping choice. Nurseries will separate an aspen from the root system and plant it on it’s own. It is very interesting to note, that in this environment, the aspen will only live 25 years.
Communication even occurs between differing and competing species in forests, creating harmonious ecosystems, a partnership for Life. We can take heart that we are as much a part of this aspect of Nature as the trees are.
When we connect our hands in the partner Tree Pose, we connect as well to this innate truth – we are stronger and steadier when we are together. Our balance is much easier to maintain. As the hands are connected, much like the aspen root systems and forest ecosystems, we are able to feel the needs of our partner and how we can work together to support one another. Connect to your breath and the Vrksasana together and see what happens. It is an interesting experience to feel the collaborative support you will find in this Vrksasana variation – a partner yoga posture worth trying today!
To perform the tree pose:
- Both stand facing forward, side by side with your partner. Each partner will raise the inner arms upward, connecting their palms together overhead.
- Then connect the outer hands together in front, creating a partner Namaskara Mudra (think of the power of this alone!).
- Lift the outside foot to rest upon the shin or inner thigh, the knee rotated laterally out to the side.
- Hold a steady soft gaze and connect with your breath as you and your partner find your balance together.
- Smile! Be in wonder at how steady you can be when working together.
- Repeat on the other side.
May your February and every day of every month, bring you connection, grounding and a network of loving arms to support you. Yours in yoga, Becky.
Photo of aspen forest by Evan Wise via Unsplash
Now a lead teacher trainer for SOYA, Rebecca graduated from SOYA’s program in 2010. The blessing of this curriculum, and learning with Mugs instilled a great love, respect and thirst for the authentic teachings of yoga. She is also a certified Children’s and Family Yoga teacher that loves to bring yoga to life through play and relationship building. Learn more about her offerings at www.beckystoneyoga.com