[Pose Of the Week] Bending Tree Pose (Intermediate)

Root, balance, and stay strong in Bending Tree Pose…

Bending Tree Pose – also known as Tree Pose Side Bend or Half-Lotus Tree Pose – is a variation of Tree Pose (Vrksasana), a basic yoga pose that is appropriate for beginner yoga students. Bending Tree adds a wider range of motion and a bit more of a balance challenge. This pose is useful for relieving sciatica and improving balance and coordination. It also strengthens the legs, back, ankles and feet, stretches the oblique abdominals and the muscles between the ribs, and is thought to increase focus and concentration.

Beginners may wish to use a wall or have a chair nearby for support. Avoid locking the knee of the standing leg, and make sure your lifted foot is pressed into the upper thigh – not the knee or calf muscle. Imagine you are a strong tree gently swaying in the wind, while your standing leg grows roots into the floor!

Those with weak knees, back or ankle injuries, or vertigo should avoid this pose.

How to Do Bending Tree Pose:

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose. Ensure both the feet are planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Lift the left leg off the ground slightly to balance yourself only on the right foot. Focus specifically on anchoring the big toe, little toe and the ball of the right foot firmly into the mat.
  3. Slowly lift the left foot with your right hand and place the foot on the inside of the right thigh. Be careful not to place the foot lower or directly on the knee.
  4. Staying balanced on the right foot and with the left foot firmly placed on the inner right thigh, raise the right arm over and above the head to stretch and lengthen the right side of the torso.
  5. Rest the left arm on the left thigh. A good guide here to maintain your balance is to find a yogic point of gaze or ‘dristi’ in front of you. This will help keep the focus and balance. (For a more advanced challenge, you can also press both palms together overhead, or bring the hands together in front of the chest in “Prayer Pose” or Namaste mudra.)
  6. Once anchored in this position, stretch laterally to the left side, to further lengthen and stretch the right side.
  7. Stay in the pose while breathing deeply for 3 – 5 breaths.
  8. To come out of the pose, bring the extended right arm back down and release the left foot back to the ground to return to Mountain Pose.
  9. Repeat the same steps on the other side by balancing on the left foot.
Read more at YogaClassPlan.com


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