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Benefits of Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction: 

Yoga is a combination of specific breathing techniques (pranayama), physical postures (asanas), relaxation and meditation that helps you connect to your mind, body and soul. 


Though Yoga is a very traditional practice, it is considered more as a science than just philosophy or religion. Yoga believes that every human being exists in this world in not just one (physical dimension) but five dimensions; pranamaya kosha (vital body), vijanamaya kosha (intellectual body), manomaya kosha (psychic body), annamaya kosha (physical body) and anandamaya kosha (causal body). They altogether aim at bringing about a balance in all aspects. 

There are certain asanas in Yoga that, apart from keeping illness at bay, give more benefit to some specific organs. One such yogic posture is the Vrikshasana, which may be beneficial to one of the vital organs of the body, the brain.2 However, the benefits need further studies to be proven. 

Did you know?

  • According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, the Vrikshasana pose can improve postural stability in healthy individuals. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • A study found that practicing Vrikshasana can improve focus and concentration in individuals. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • A study showed that practicing Vrikshasana can help reduce anxiety and stress levels in individuals. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

What is Vrikshasana? 

Vrikshasana is a standing pose. The name is derived from the word ‘Vṛkṣa’ meaning tree. So, it is also called the ‘Tree pose’. This asana is named so that the final posture looks like the shape of a tree.3 It helps us achieve peace of mind and benefits those who are facing problems such as anxiety and depression. It increases concentration, immunity, and stamina. Moreover, it helps to build self-esteem and self-confidence. It has a calming and relaxing effect and stretches the body head to toe.

Vrikshasana is one yoga posture underrated and not well-known for people with diabetes! People with diabetes are prone to altered body orientation due to neuropathy. Regular practice of Vrikshasana is believed to build balance and coordination among these people.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Benefits of Pranayama and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

How to do it? 

Any posture in Yoga must be done using the correct technique, to get the maximum health benefit. Following the proper method also helps to avoid any injuries. The steps for doing Vrikshasana are as follows: 

  • Stand straight with your feet at a distance of 2 inches from each other. 
  • Concentrate on a point straight ahead. 
  • Exhale and bend your right leg, placing the right foot on the inner aspect of the left thigh. Your right heel should be touching the perineum (the surface area between the tail bone and the joint where there the right and left pelvic bones meet). 
  • Inhale and raise the arms, joining the palms together to form the Namaskar Mudra. 
  • Hold this posture for 10 to 30 seconds. Ensure that you are breathing normally at this point. 
  • Now, breathe out and bring your arms down. Bring your right leg down to the starting position. 
  • Repeat the same steps for doing Vrikshasana on the left side.3 

Did you know Vrikshasana might aid in premenstrual symptoms? Regular practice of Vrikshasana might help women with handling premenstrual symptoms such as muscle cramps in the abdomen and legs. It is believed that Vrikshasana strengthens the leg muscles and tendons.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Here are some fun facts about this antique asana that make for an interesting read: 

  • Vrikshasana (tree pose) was used by Hindu sages as a way of practising asceticism (Tapasya). 
  • The knowledge of this asana is so ancient that a man in a posture similar to the tree pose can be seen etched on a seventh-century CE rock temple in Mamallapuram.4 

Not just legs, Vrikshasana is believed to strengthen the shoulders as well. Vrikshasana involves raising the hands up and stretching which might stretch the shoulder muscles.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: Benefits Of Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose) and How to Do it

Benefits of Vrikshasana: 

Vrikshasana is a common standing posture. It is the first standing balancing posture that most beginners learn.5 This one-legged pose has various benefits as follows: 

1. Benefits of Vrikshasana for Conditions Causing Stability Issues:  

Being balanced in your body is very essential to have a sense of stability. Vrikshasana may help improve the strength of the muscles that help one keep erect and balanced. The extended arms in this posture help challenge the muscles that control body position. Vrikshasana may specifically stimulate the abductor group of muscles of the hip joint, which are the muscles that help move the thigh away from the body. This group includes the superior gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and medius. This benefit is obtained even if the tree pose is done with wall support, using one or both arms for the support. It may prove to be valuable to beginners in the field of Yoga, who have stability issues.  

This pose may especially involve the ankle muscles, rather than the thigh, to bring about better balance and it also improves blood circulation. Thus, it may benefit in conditions that may pose stability issues like-cardiovascular disease, rehabilitation after injuries, managing the symptoms of ADHD such as balance, stability and more. You may gain lateral stability by practicing the Tree pose by standing close to a wall or chair.5,6,7 

2. Benefits of Vrikshasana for Depression and Anxiety:  

It may be beneficial in calming down the entire nervous system bringing about a sense of relaxation.2 It may be valuable in improving the proprioception ability of a person, which is the ability to sense the body’s movements, position and action.8 Vrikshasana also helps to improve concentration, generate calm and balance the nervous system. 

Due to this effect, it may help in conditions like depression and anxiety. In these conditions, the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol is elevated. Studies have demonstrated reduced levels of cortisol in those who practice yoga such as vrikshasana.5  

3. Benefits of Vrikshasana for Concentration:  

Balancing on one leg and assuming the final Vrikshasana posture requires focus. So, practising this asana may help in increasing concentration level. It was found in a study by Samantha et al., 2019 that Vrikshasana was beneficial to develop concentration in patients with  Attention  Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is otherwise presenting as difficulty in concentration.8,9 

4. Benefits of Vrikshasana for Sciatica: 

Vrikshasana calms and relaxes the central nervous system and stretches the entire body. It strengthens the legs and opens the hips and improves your neuromuscular coordination and endurance. It may thus be helpful for those who suffer from sciatica (nerve pain in the leg).2,4 

5. Other benefits of Vrikshasana: 

  • It may help increase confidence and self-esteem in self-conscious individuals due to its calming relaxing effect.2 
  • Since it improves balance and endurance, it may help in increasing stamina.2,4 
  • It might help improve the coordination between nerves and muscles.3 
  • Vrikshasana practice improves the body’s flexibility and strength which controls blood pressure, respiration, metabolic and heart rate, thus it may help manage heart ailments.8 

Yogic asanas, though largely beneficial, should not be sought as the go-to treatment for health issues. You must always consult a medical practitioner for your health issues so that he/she can examine you, assess your condition and then provide an appropriate treatment protocol. Besides, to avoid any injuries, it is best to practice Yoga under the guidance of a qualified and trained Yoga expert. 

Also Read: Benefits of Anulom Vilom and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Risks of Exercise 

Some risks and precautions related to Vrikshasana are: 

  • People suffering from dizziness should avoid practising this pose. 
  • Those having swelling and pain in multiple joints (arthritis) must avoid this asana. 
  • In case of chronic disease/ pain/ injuries/cardiac problems, a physician or a Yoga therapist should be consulted prior to performing Yogic practices.  
  • During pregnancy and menstruation Yoga experts should be consulted before doing Vrikshasana.3 

Any yoga posture must ideally be practiced under the supervision of a Yoga expert who can advise you on the safety of that particular asana for you. 

Conclusion  

Vrikshasana or the tree pose is a common standing Yoga asana. It has numerous benefits for the brain, immunity, spine, and stability. One may practice this posture regularly, preferably under the guidance of a Yoga trainer, who will advise you regarding the necessary precautions to be taken. 

Also Read: Benefits of Bhramari Pranayama and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) What is Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)? 

The name Vrikshasana is derived from the word ‘Vṛkṣa’ which means tree. Hence, it is also referred to as the Tree pose.3 It is the first single-legged standing pose for beginners.5 

2) What are the steps of Vrikshasana? 

Steps in Vrikshasana are: Stand erect with your legs apart. The distance between them should be about 2 inches. Focus on any point straight ahead. Exhale, bend your right leg, and place the sole of the right foot on the left inner thigh, with the heel of your right leg touching the perineum. Now, breathe in and raise your arms, joining your palms together to form the Namaste Mudra. Hold this stance for 10-30 seconds. Breathe normally while holding the pose. Now, exhale and bring your arms down. Bring your right leg too to the starting position. Repeat the same method on the left side.3 

3) How many times should one do Vrikshasana? 

Vrikshasana must preferably be done under the supervision of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher who can advise you on the number of times that you may do this pose safely. 

4) Is Vrikshasana safe for senior citizens? 

Senior citizens who have instability issues may show an improvement in lateral stability by practising the Tree pose while standing close to a wall or chair.5 To avoid possibility of falling, it is recommended that older adults practice this pose under the guidance of a Yoga expert. 

5) Can Vrikshasana help reduce vertigo? 

While Vrikshasana is said to help people having instability issues5, it is contraindicated in those who might have giddiness.3 If you are suffering from vertigo, it is best to consult a qualified medical professional before you start practising this Yoga posture. 

References: 

  1. Mohammad A, Thakur P, Kumar R, Kaur S, Saini R, Saini A. Biological markers for the effects of yoga as a complementary and alternative medicine. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine [Internet]. 2019 [cited 25 August 2022];16(1). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Reena-Saini-2/publication/330965460_Biological_markers_for_the_effects_of_yoga_as_a_complementary_and_alternative_medicine/links/5cfa3df64585157d15991c22/Biological-markers-for-the-effects-of-yoga-as-a-complementary-and-alternative-medicine.pdf 
  1. Maurya H, Kumar S. Current Medication Trends and Global Impact on Neurodegenerative Disorders. Journal of Pharmaceutics & Pharmacology [Internet]. 2018 [cited 25 August 2022];6(1):6. Available from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a76a/595d4784e3022a2cc007e57522ea81d2a425.pdf 
  1. 21 June INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA Common Yoga Protocol, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) [Internet] 4th Revised Edition, May 2019. [Cited: 2022 Aug 24] Available from:  http://mea.gov.in/images/pdf/common-yoga-protocol-english.pdf  
  1.  Dayanand Sagar Institute of Technology (Polytechnic). 2022.Available from: https://dayanandasagar.edu/dsit/images/events/yoga.pdf 
  1. Liu AM, Chu IH, Lin HT, Liang JM, Hsu HT, Wu WL. Training Benefits and Injury Risks of Standing Yoga Applied in Musculoskeletal Problems: Lower Limb Biomechanical Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2021;18:8402.Available from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ead3/c3d54f9ce93eb464a57a3c6c7f11a4d513ec.pdf 
  1. Mullerpatan R, Kanjirathingal J, Nehete G, Raghuram N. Effect of yogasana intervention on standing balance performance among people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: A pilot study. International Journal of Yoga [Internet]. 2021 [cited 25 August 2022];14(1):60. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023438/ 
  1. Salem G, Yu S, Wang M, Samarawickrame S, Hashish R, Azen S et al. Physical Demand Profiles of Hatha Yoga Postures Performed by Older Adults. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2013;2013:5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814077/pdf/ECAM2013-165763.pdf  
  1. Sharma B, Pant K, Pant B, Sharma P, Thapliyal M, Sinha S. Electronic detoxification with yoga and meditation. Journal of Critical reviews [Internet]. 2020 [cited 24 August 2022];7(12):4632-4643. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Somya-Sinha-3/publication/351618249_ELECTRONIC_DETOXIFICATION_WITH_YOGA_AND_MEDITATION/links/60a14f7892851cfdf33b2f30/ELECTRONIC-DETOXIFICATION-WITH-YOGA-AND-MEDITATION.pdf 
  1. Gunaseelan L, Vanama M, Abdi F, Qureshi A, Siddiqua A, Hamid M. Yoga for the Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Cureus [Internet]. 2021 [cited 8 September 2022];. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8760933/pdf/cureus-0013-00000020466.pdf 

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