by Trina Love Abram
My favorite Yoga pose is Triangle or Trikonasana. The root word trikona, means “three angle or triangle” and asana means posture in Sanskrit.
Benefits of Triangle Pose
Triangle Pose simultaneously energizes and relaxes you, alleviating stress. It is an elegantly powerful pose that works the abdominal external oblique muscles, effectively lengthening and shaving them. Triangle also strengthens your back, opens your chest and your hip joints, strengthens and lengthens your inner thigh muscles, strengthens your calves, helps to reduce love handles, and engages the abdominal muscles to aid in digestion. The twisting and extending that is involved also massages the spinal nerves. In Triangle, you feel balanced, energized, and focused. You are stable, secure, and powerful.
For Triangle Pose to be effective, you MUST do the pose correctly. You must concern yourself with proper alignment and placement of your limbs. The line of the torso from the side of your waist to the armpit must be flat, and not rounded, toward the ceiling. It is the contraction of the abdominal external oblique muscles that work to strengthen and tone your sides.
Do not stand with your legs too close or too far apart:
The foundation of this pose is your stance. Your legs are the base and must be properly positioned and far enough apart to support you. Stand in the middle of your mat, and extend your arms to the side. Step your legs apart so that your stance is as wide as or wider than the length of your arms from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers. If one or both of your knees want to bend, then your stance is too wide.
Do not lean forward:
Do not lean forward. The objective of the pose is not that you reach the mat with your hand or fingers. Open your chest towards the ceiling. The arm that is extended towards the ceiling should be in line with your ear. Stick your pelvis and hips forward. I repeat, do not lean forward in this pose.
Getting Into Triangle
*I advise you to first practice Triangle up against the wall. Leave your top hand on your hip, your lower hand on your shin. Bend at the hips instead of at the waist. This gives you the proper alignment of your hips pressed forward, your shoulder rotated up, and your chest open and lifted to the ceiling along with your head and your gaze. The wall acts as a buffer.
- Lift your arms to shoulder height into a T position.
- Lift your chest and torso up, keeping your shoulders down and back.
- Step your feet straight out to each side so that your toes are parallel with the tips of your fingers. It is essential that your stance is far enough apart to support you. This is your base.
- Turn both of your feet forward, so that they are parallel to one another and pointed directly to the front, as your torso should be.
- Lift and spread your toes wide, and then place them back on the mat.
- Leaving the left foot pointed straight ahead, turn your your right foot out to the right 90 degrees.
- Extend your torso to the right, and then continue to bend to the right from your hip until your right arm is comfortable either above your knee, on your shin, on your ankle, or on the mat. Simultaneously, lift your left arm straight to the ceiling. Imagine that your arms are making a vertical T (in line with the tops of your shoulders). Listen to your body. If as far as your body says it can do down is you placing your hand on your thigh, then don’t go further than that. As you practice the pose, your hamstrings will loosen up, and you will be able to go down farther.
- Press your hips forward, tuck your tailbone under, and rotate your left shoulder towards the ceiling. Do not stick your butt or tailbone out to achieve the position. You are defeating the purpose.
- Turn your chest up towards the ceiling, effectively opening the chest and providing more flexibility in the oblique muscles.
- Keep your gaze straight ahead or gaze softly towards your left thumb.
- Inhale and exhale, and feel your rib cage expand and contract. As the weight of the rib cage shifts during breathing, you are challenged to maintain the pose in its proper form. Triangle also benefits your posture because the dynamics of the position challenge your balance and your coordination.
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back (left) heel into the floor and pulling the right arm downward. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time on the left side.
I emphasize balance in your Yoga practice, which means that when you bend in one direction, you must follow with a pose that bends in the opposite direction. If you work your right side, you must balance by also working your left side. In Triangle pose, you are bending from side to side. I suggest Wide Leg Forward Bend followed by a Wide Legged Backbend.
What You Will Feel
You will feel:
- Your oblique (side) muscles lengthen as you extend
- Your thighs and calf muscles working to keep you steady
- Your hamstring muscles stretch, if your stance is wide enough
- The shoulder of your arm that is extended rotate in the socket allowing you to open your chest towards the ceiling
- Your glute muscles working as you press your hips forward
*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Make sure that you have adequate instructions about how to accurately perform these poses before you try them. The Leisure Living Blog, its contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.
*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. The Leisure Living Blog, its contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.
© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram