• Katie

Vamp Up Your Vrksasana with These Tree Pose Variations

To know tree pose, or vrksasana, is to love it. It is one of yoga’s more accessible balance poses, but it is by no means simple. There are many ways to switch up your tree practice, whether it’s changing up the placement of your foot or trying something new with your arms. Here are a few fun and challenging variations you can try out next time you’re growing your roots in tree pose.

The Eagle Has Landed

Adding eagle arms to your tree pose will test your balance not only because of the twist going on in the upper body but because you’ll lose sight of your dristhi (focal point) helping you maintain your balance. Just as in eagle pose, I practice my eagle-tree hybrid with my opposite arm overtop.

  • Begin in tree pose with your left leg as your standing leg or “tree trunk”

  • Extend your arms out in front of you and cross the right arm over the left at the elbow crease - think of an “X” shape here

  • Bring your hands to opposite shoulders; raise your arms but keep them crossed in the “X” shape, now in front of your face

  • Wrap your arms around one another with either your palms or the backs of your hands touching

Uprooted Tree

Blocks are often associated with making a pose more accessible or “easy” - this is not the case here! I love using blocks in creative and unexpected ways. If you don’t have a block, a thick book or two will do just fine here.

  • Bring one foot on your block with the sides of your feet parallel to the long edges of your block - this will be your standing leg

  • Enter your tree pose as normal

Blinded Tree

What a big difference a small change can make…

  • Enter your tree pose as normal

  • Close your eyes

Fallen Tree Branch

In this variation, don’t compromise the length in your spine for the sake of folding deeper. If you’re incorporating this into a longer sequence, warm up with a few halfway lifts and then mimic that length here.

  • Enter your tree pose as normal

  • Hinging from your hips, begin to fold forward

  • Maintain a long, neutral spine, extending through the back of the neck - the upper body should be in a halfway lift

  • With the same flat back, slowly return to standing

What’s your favorite tree pose variation? Let me know in the comments below!

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