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Stretch Yourself: The Tree Pose


Published Oct 1, 2011 12:00 AM


Photo by Hugh Hamilton.

No matter what your age or fitness level, "movement is medicine," says integrated fitness expert Amanda Jane Avis '96 of Santa Monica fitness studio Mala Motion. The former Bruin Dance Team member will help us all live healthier lives in this new Happenings department.

Finding balance is the biggest challenge in this pose, which means despite your level, Tree Pose (Vrksasana) may be a tough one. But the benefits include strengthening the abdominal wall, increasing proprioception (knowing where your body is in space) and improving balance. You may practice Tree Pose in front of a chair or near a wall if you are a beginner.

1. Standing tall at the top of your yoga mat, bend the right knee to bring the sole of your right foot to the left inner thigh.

2. Press the sole of the right foot into the left inner thigh to create a solid connection. Feel the center line of your body from the top of your head to the toes of your left foot.

3. Place your hands on your hips, palms together in front of your heart, or lifted skyward. The further you reach the arms, the more difficult. You may add a lift in the focus, or Drishti, to make this pose more advanced.

4. Hold Tree Pose for 10 full breaths and change sides.