What do you think of what someone says yoga? Do you think of that picture of a person at the beach standing on one leg and reaching for the sky? Not gonna lie, I do.
I think of Tree Pose.
This morning I decided to break down tree pose because I wasn't warmed up enough to attempted a crescent twist. For real, but I also love tree pose, and after I decided not to do the twist, Tree was kind of a no brainer. I actually don't know why it's taken me so long to break this one down.
It's excellent for practicing your balance and there are so many different levels you can take it to if you need to start slowly.
Start standing in tadasana and carefully transfer your weight into one foot. You want to feel the weight evenly distributed throughout the whole foot. When you're ready, start to lift your foot up to your hand and grab it.
Use your hand to get your heel as high up on your inner thigh as you can and then press your inner thigh and sole of your foot together.
Find your balance. The best way is to focus on a spot on the floor or the wall in front of you that is not moving.
Once you have your balance and you're comfortable, you can bring your hands into Namaste or prayer.
And if you feel steady there, you can take your arms up towards the sky, palms facing each other.
And if you're really comfy, move your gaze upward and try and little backbend.
Too much too fast? Don't worry about it. Tree pose got ya covered.
Only bring your foot up as high on your leg as is comfortable for you to maintain your balance. Then you can work your way up if you like.
Try taking the foot to the side of your calf.
Or even all the way down to your ankle. You can set the toes on the floor if that's what works for you.
Ok, you've seen the variations. Now you want to make sure you're doing them correctly, right?
The first thing to remember is that no matter how comfy you think it is to stand with your foot pressing into your standing knee, don't do it. Keep the foot above or below the knee. Pressing the foot into the knee and the knee into the foot can cause major joint damage.
Once you're up in tree pose, you may have a tendency to the hip of your standing leg out. Try not to do that. As much as you can, you want your hips to be even and level - parallel and perpendicular to the floor.
While you're pressing the foot into the thigh, try to vigorously rotate the inner thighs up and the outer thighs back. This will help with your hips and create a nice stretch.
And the last thing I'm gonna touch on is the shoulders.
No matter which position your arms are in, you should always be relaxing the shoulders away from the ears. If you're reaching up, get your arms as straight as possible and then reach and drop your shoulders. My arms are not even as straight as I would like in this picture, but focus on the shoulders.