I love balancing poses because they are so beneficial. Not only do they improve balance but they naturally strengthen the core, increase strength, and enhance focus. That is why I suggest these poses for stress management. When you are completely focused on balancing in a pose, it is hard to engage in anxious thoughts. When you are concentrating on maintaining the pose, focusing on your breath, feeling how your body feels, and staying in the present moment, there is no room for negative thoughts…just balance. Focusing on the strength of the standing leg, finding ease in the posture, all the worries of the day just melt away and in a matter of minutes you have a new perspective on life. And one of my favorite balancing poses, that can be done almost anywhere is Vrksasana, Tree Pose.
The best way to start Tree Pose is to find a focal point to stare at, something on the wall or floor, something that does not move, and gaze at it. Then come into mountain pose and shift your weight onto the right foot. Angle the left foot and knee out opening the hip. If you have difficulty with balance you can just stay here, bringing your hands to your heart in prayer pose, concentrating on the sensations in your body and your breath.
If you want something more, place the inside of the raised left foot anywhere on the right leg except the knee. Gently press the heel into the leg and the leg into the foot. Flare the left knee out and back to open the hip. Lengthen the spine and open the chest. You can either bring your hands to prayer pose, lift them up overhead, palms pressing together, or arms opened wide…like tree branches. While in the pose, gaze at your focal point, focus on your breath and how each part of your body feels. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. Come out of the pose, separate you feet and notice the difference between the leg that bore the weight and the lifted leg. Breathe Deeply.
The benefits of Tree pose are many:
•Tree Pose improves balance, poise, posture, and concentration.
•Tree Pose strengthens the ankles, calves, thighs, and spine.
•Tree Pose relieves sciatica, flat feet, stress and anxiety.
•Tree Pose tones the back and the chest.
•Tree Pose increases the hips range of motion.
So if you are prone to anxiety, take your mind off your worries, your stress and strike Vrksasana, Tree Pose today!