Whole-Body Wellness Challenge: Tree Pose Progressions

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Here’s how you can tweak this foundational yoga move and safely find your center of balance

The Whole-Body Wellness Challenge is rooted in the understanding that health isn’t just about fitness. This month, we’re sharing fun and easy ways to bring everything you love about SilverSneakers classes and your time at the gym to other areas of your life. You’ll find workouts, tips, and activities to help you build strength, eat healthier, sleep sounder, and be more present in your life so you can feel good—body, mind, and spirit.  

Trees are often seen as a symbol of growth, strength, and prosperity. Through heavy winds and the changing of the seasons, they remain tall and stable—all thanks to their roots.  

Just like these gentle giants, it’s important for us to stay steady on our feet, especially as we get older. “That’s why I love tree pose,” says SilverSneakers instructor Shannon Thigpen. “This move will strengthen your feet and your ankles, it will work your balance, and help you feel stable from the ground up.”  

But for all tree pose has going for it, Shannon says many older adults think the move is too advanced to try. “That couldn’t be further from the truth! There’s a variation for everyone,” she says. “Yes, you’re able to do tree pose even if you’re unable to get out of your chair.”  

How to Use These Tree Pose Progressions  

You’ll just need yourself and some open floor space. Feel free to use a sturdy chair to do tree pose from a seated position, or for standing support.   

When you’re ready, press play on the video above. Shannon will show you ways to make tree pose progressively harder. Choose the variation that’s right for you, in this moment. The more you practice, the more stable you’ll feel, and the more you’ll be able to challenge yourself with more complex moves.   

As you practice this pose, remember to draw your belly button toward your spine and stand or sit tall. To help you balance, gaze at something stationary, suggests Shannon.   

Each time you enter tree pose, try to tune in to your inhales and exhales and calm your mind. When you relax out of the pose, carry that grounded feeling with you for the rest of your day. And find comfort that you can always return to tree pose whenever you need.  

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As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.    

Bonus Challenge: Try a  SilverSneakers  Stability Class 

SilverSneakers  Stability is a fun 45- to 60-minute class that works on improving your balance and reflexes to help you stay independent and doing what you love most. It’s great for beginners to active exercisers alike who want to keep their mind sharp—and boost their fall prevention skills. It’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times), or online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here.  

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