This is a pose we just explored in class a few days ago and for the past year has been effecting my moral. Ever since I had my left knee operated on in order to repair my ACL and meniscus, it has been really hard to bend my knee and in some cases I have lost some of my range of motion. My ability to get into a half lotus tree pose with my right leg only made me more self-conscious when I realized that in doing tree with my left I could barely reach my knee. It was high time I focused some self-awareness on accepting my limitations, but also awarding myself credit where it was due. I was able to balance on my left leg, less than two weeks after my surgery, and was being active with it within a month. The fact that I was able to do some of the things I was doing was amazing, and my doctors let me know this, and yet still I was not content. Most of my joints are hyper mobile, and so for me reaching adequate (and even beyond) was not good enough. I had to reach the extreme, and the hyper mobile, and super strength that I had before going into surgery. It took a really long time for me to come to terms with my weaknesses, but I’ve come to embrace them. Although I still do not photograph myself in my left sided tree pose most of the time, I practice it 2xs as much as my right and will dedicate entire practices to tailor the needs of my knee and its abilities.
Kristen Butera, my teacher at Yogalife mentioned how in another class they discussed over 60 variations of tree, and I myself calculated 68, however for the sake of time I will only talk about one.
(One of the rare moments of my weaksided tree pose)
From Mountain pose, or equal standing, shift your weight onto your left leg. Keeping your hips level and forward facing pick your right foot off the ground, bending the knee out towards the right. As you bend your knee Bring your hands up either perpendicular to your body, reaching our or parallel reaching up high. Allow your right foot to meet your left calf, and slowly make your way up your left leg with your right foot until you find a comfortable position. Try not to use your hands to help you while doing this. From here take 5 breaths and hold the pose as bet you can. Falling, and teetering is ok and will dissipate some with time. The more you practice, the longer you will be able to stay balanced for. Keeping your hips level and forward facing, bring you right foot back down to the ground, and lower your arms. Shift your weight to the right foot now, pick your left foot up off the ground, and repeat with reversed legs.
Brings balance and equilibrium to your mind
Helps improve concentration, focus, and meditation
Makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hips
Helps improve sense of proprioception throughout the body.
If you have sciatica, it is said that tree pose may help you, however most balancing poses may causes problems with sciatica.
If you have a foot or ankle injury, although the balancing is good to build the stability muscle of the joint, you may not be ready for a full weight bearing balance.
If you are hearing impaired, I fully encourage your participating in balancing poses, and yoga in general, but be mindful of the inner ear balancing tool that you may not have. Take you time and be patient with your body.