Triangle pose is a yoga posture (āsana) that has many angles, details and options. It is a beautiful hip, hamstring and side body opener while it creates strength by reaching out to the side. Honestly, it is one of my favorite standing poses within my asana practice. It feels so good to stretch and open my body in the horizontal/lateral plane.
If you are reading this article you have likely practiced this pose before. It is simple in its approach to straight lines and angles. Yet, there are many details one can focus on as you evolve this posture. Don’t be afraid to grab a block to help offer support as you relearn the details. Support is something all of us can use in our lives, even if it is coming in the form of a little rectangular block!
Let’s start at the base of this asana and build it from the ground up. We’ll explore the body along the way getting a good feel for the movement of energy in Trikoṇāsana.
- Step the feet wide. We’ll begin with the left side (at the end repeat all these tips on the right side). Turn the left toes towards the short end of your mat and the right toes slightly forward.
- The legs are both straight, without locking the knees. Engaging the quadricep muscles helps to lift the kneecaps and prevent locking. If you tend to lock the knees, bring a micro-bend into the joints.
- Stretch your arms out in a “T” shape aligned with your legs and take a deep breath in.
- With the exhale, stretch forward from the hips all the way through the front fingertips as far as you can go. Feel your left side waist reach forward and elongate the spine as you reach.
- When you have found your comfortable edge, allow the arms to reach up and down in a straight line. The lower hand can utilize a block for some support on the inside or outside edge of your foot. Make sure the top arm is straight up rather than stretching too far behind you or too far forward of your body.
- Feel your right side rib cage (top ribs) roll back along with your right hip to keep the body aligned horizontally.
- Engaging your abdominals will help support the spine as it reaches sideways and will take out any little backbend that may be happening in the lumbar spine.
- The head and neck can stay neutral with the rest of the spine by looking down towards the toes, straight forward or turn to look up towards the sky.
Now that you are in the basic shape of Trikoṇāsana with integrity lets refine the pose and let the energy flow even more.
- Press down into your left big toe mound, internally rotating your left leg. At the same time feel your left thigh externally rotating. Notice how that will open the hips even more – the right hip crest will roll up and back a little extra offering the pelvis a little extra room to tilt forward.
- Feel into your pelvis and hamstrings here. Explore the range of motion you have available to you in this strange shape that can help free up energy in your first and second chakras (legs, pelvis, low belly and low back regions).
- Let’s move up to the abdomen and ribs. Notice how you can engage or disengage the abdomen and what happens because of that. The ribs can rotate towards the floor or towards the ceiling. What shifts happen for you when you explore the torso? You can also move the ribs side to side (or up and down depending on how you look at it) to explore the space in your waist. We are looking to have lots of length in the left side waist to minimize the side bend in the spine.
- Feel into your top arm. Traditionally it reaches vertical. What happens for you if you reach it forward over the ear? How about if you make little circles above the shoulder? What about big circles all the way around from sky towards the earth? What happens if you bend the elbow back and down towards the hips? Does your neck want to get involved with the exploration?
These are just a few areas you can play with as you let the shakti or energy move through you more freely in this pose. What does your wise body call for as you settle into this pose? Often after exploring a pose in this way, with mindfulness and curiosity, the body will settle into a new sense of stillness that is utterly different than when you started. Let the wisdom of the body and the mind work together in harmony for you to get the most out of your Triangle Pose!
Enjoy the practice of this wonderful inquisitive pose. Please let me know if you have questions or comments!