Trikonasana - Triangle

Sometimes we need to reminded ourselves that the ‘perfect pose’ is exactly where we are today with our bodies, not in the images posted up on yogi social media threads! Each day the body is different, and each hour within each day is different too. Your body will be open to different energies at different times of the day. You might find you need to be more patient with your body in a morning practice, as the muscles gradually shake off the night sleep; if you have a desk job your back, shoulders and neck might feel tight, and a lunchtime practice will help you refocus for the rest of your day; in the evening your energies might be low after a busy day, and a slow meditative practice to calm the nervous system down and be the best thing to bring on a good night sleep! The ‘perfect pose’ for you is unique to your anatomical and muscular structure. Some asana might always be beyond our skeletal range of motion, and some asanas you will always find a challenge, depending on your day to day activity off the mat. Our bodies are incredibly complicated, when we listen to them they will tell us exactly what ways they do and don’t want to move. It’s also important to remember that you still get all the lovely benefits of your practice when you go to your edge, without judgement, with the right balance of effort and ease.

With all this in mind, I’ve been exploring one of the first asana that we learn, Trikonasana. We sometimes become so familiar with the basic poses we forget to pause and scan the body from the ground up to notice what sensations we’re feeling. Where do you feel strengthened and where do you feel lengthened?

Trikonasana teaches foundation, stability, balance and expansion. It brings blood flow to all the organs of the trunk of the body, aids good digestion and relieves stress anxiety and tension. It strengthens the thighs, knees, ankles and glutes; and stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. Different yoga traditions suggest different distances between your front and back foot. When your feet are closer together it can be more challenging to get the side tilt of the pelvis, when the feet are further apart the pelvis has more room to tilt, but it give a stronger stretch to the inner groins. Play around with your feet distance and see what suits you best.

Try the above sequence paying particular attention on your hip placement in Trikonasana/Triangle. You will often hear in class the imagery sandwiching your body between two panes of glass. This instruction can sometimes make students unnaturally force the back hip back in line with the front hip. Anatomically it is better for the pelvis to allow the back hip to be slightly forward of the front hip as it tilts up and towards the front of the mat.

The following are some alignment cues that might help you to reinvigorate your Trikonasana/Triangle. Print them out, along with the sequence, and play around with what makes sense to you:

  • From Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog, ground your left foot at a 45 degree angle. Inhale, step your right foot between your hands, check for front heel to back heel or arch alignment, exhale here.

  • Inhale, press into your feet to come up, reach your arms out to shoulder height, straighten your front leg.

  • Exhale, reach forward with your right arm and hinge to your right from the hip joint, right hip moves back, left hip tilts up towards the front of the mat.

  • Rest your hand on your shin, to a brick, or the ground inside/outside of your right foot.

  • Feel for the contraction in your right glute and press into your big toe to slightly engage the inner groin to balance the inside and outside knee joint.

  • Bottom waist rolls forward, top waist rolls back, reach your left arm up high, palm facing left, gaze to your left or to your left fingertips.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru