I’m a firm believer, like most yoga teachers, that using props makes yoga harder. Props give us the ability to engage and firm in ways that sometimes the length of our limbs do not allow. In the case of tree pose, a block can give us lift and the necessity to firm our legs that we may otherwise not understand how to.
Vrksasana (tree pose) is a challenging posture in it’s own right. Standing on one leg, for a significant amount of time, is not something we generally do. Our tendencies to sink into the standing leg and hip are often go unnoticed. Our “goal” is to stand on one leg – correct?
While technically, yes that is the goal, we must not forget our overall goals of finding space and length as well as softness and strength throughout the body as we do so.
I like using a block for added lift. I play around with the following two versions. The block, only a few inches from the ground, gives us the incentive to truly engage the standing leg, lift the quadriceps and kick the glutes into action. Give them a try next time you’re in class!
This is the more accessible of the two.
To your left is a version that's not a fan favorite in classes but worth a shot for a different perspective. At the wall is the safest space because balance the first time is tricky. This is my 4th or 5th time playing with this version and balance and lift is getting easier. It's a practice!! I’ve found that women, who have a history of wearing heels as well as the after effects, can have a lot of pain in this version.