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Many people believe that yoga is a way to improve health, balance and flexibility, as well as increase everyday mindfulness. People nowadays can carry stress, worries and imbalance in the body. Yoga poses, or asanas in Sanskrit, help to release tension and cultivate physical balance, which can improve spiritual and emotional balance. One of the most well-known standing poses is the yoga tree pose, or Vrksasana. This pose involves balancing on one leg with the hands touching overhead.
The standing tree pose can work on two levels: balancing and stretching. The yoga practitioner typically starts in Tadasana, the mountain pose, then bends the right leg up and out and presses the right foot into the top of the left inner thigh. Then the arms extend out to the sides and overhead, and the palms join while keeping the elbows straight. The extended arms give the practitioner the ability to extend the body’s trunk to achieve the maximum stretch. This pose typically is held for 30 seconds and then repeated on the other leg.
Beginning yoga practitioners often have difficulties maintaining balance in the tree pose for long periods of time, and they sometimes use a wall for support or place the left foot lower than the upper thigh on the right leg. Advanced practitioners usually are taught to focus on several items in the pose, including extending the standing foot’s toes, opening the left hip, opening the chest and drawing the shoulder blades inward. Many people can do the pose easily on one side but have issues on the other side. It might take several years of yoga practice for the tree pose to be completely mastered.
Yoga tree pose is associated with the root chakra in hatha yoga. Root chakra yoga poses typically use the legs, muscles and feet, and this chakra is believed to govern survival, security, safety issues and primal urges. Some people think a person has lost his connection with the earth’s energy if he or she cannot do the tree pose successfully.
There are many benefits derived from practicing the tree pose, such as increased balance and concentration. Some people think the pose can strengthen their thighs, ankles, calves and backs, as well as improve the flexibility in their hips and groin area. The pose is sometimes recommended for practitioners who have flat feet or sciatica, but it is not recommended for people with chronic hip or knee problems. Before starting a regular yoga practice, any health issues should be discussed with a doctor.
Anyone else tried doing the tree pose on the Nintendo Wii? I know, quantifying your performance is pretty much against the entire idea of yoga, but it's kind of fun.
Basically, you stand on the balance board and it keeps track of how much you wobble! I did this on my mom's Wii and her score was much higher than mine -- but then she admitted that she was holding on to a chair for balance. There are a lot of other yoga poses on the Wii Fit as well.
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