Tag Archives: alignment

Yoga Pose Series: Triangle Pose

100_2755by 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.

Prevent Injuries

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.

  1. Lift your arms to shoulder height into a T position.100_2757
  2. Lift your chest and torso up, keeping your shoulders down and back.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lift and spread your toes wide, and then place them back on the mat.
  6. Leaving the left foot pointed straight ahead, turn your your right foot out to the right 90 degrees.
  7. Extend your torso to the right, and then continue to bend to the right from your hip until your right arm is comfortable100_2758 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Turn your chest up towards the ceiling, effectively opening the chest and providing more flexibility in the oblique muscles.
  10. Keep your gaze straight ahead or gaze softly towards your left thumb.
  11. Inhale and exhale, and feel your rib cage expand and contract. As the weight of the rib cage shifts during breathing, you are100_2756 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.
  12. 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.

Counter Poses

wide legged forward bendI emphasize balance in your Yoga practice, which means that when you bend in one direction, you mustwlfb02 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.

Namaste,
Trina

 www.leisurelivingblog.com

*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

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Yoga: Sun Salutations Part 1

SunSalGrupThis week, I want to give you a variety of Sun Salutation vinyasas. You can adapt Sun Salutations to suit your mood, energy level, or available time, and let your practice shine. This first series is from Richard Rosen at Yoga Journal.

Sun Salutation is a series of postures that warms, strengthens, and aligns the entire body. It’s serves as an all-purpose yoga tool, kind of like a hammer that’s also a saw and a screwdriver, if you can imagine such a thing.

This sequence might be considered the classic one, but there are so many variations that many modern schools would dispute this. You can alter this particular Sun Salutation by playing with its pace. If you move through the sequence rapidly (by transitioning into the next pose each time you inhale or exhale), you’ll warm up fairly quickly. Start with 5 or 6 repetitions and gradually build to 12 or more or set a timer starting with 3 minutes and gradually increase to 10 or more.

Alternately, try moving slowly and deliberately, and you’ll feel how the sequence becomes a sort of moving meditation. As you practice this way, center your awareness at some point in your body (such as your third eye or your heart) and challenge yourself to keep focusing there for the duration of the practice.

Moving quickly is more stimulating, while moving slowly is more calming. Whichever way you do it, the sequence can serve as either a self-contained minipractice on days when your practice time is short or a warm-up for a longer session.

Before You Begin

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Injuries can occur if you do not  have a licensed instructor present when you do these poses, especially for the first time. Leisure Living, it’s contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries. Remember to always listen to your body. Yoga isn’t about straining or pain. Also, match your breath with the poses to get the maximum effect.

The following information is taken from an article at www.yogajournal.com
WARM UP
Stand in Mountain Pose with your palms pressed together in Salutation Seal. Focus for a few minutes on the inner sun at your heart, which is the microcosmic equivalent of the outer sun at the heart of our solar system. Your inner sun represents the light of consciousness, without which nothing would exist—just as our physical world wouldn’t exist without the sun. This inner sun is often compared with the embodied Self, the jivatman or “liberated being.” You might dedicate your practice to this light.

If Sun Salutations are your warm-up for a general practice, move slowly and consciously, gradually building heat. If Sun Salutations are your whole practice, do a 2- to 5-minute Downward Dog as a warm-up.

1. Mountain Pose:  Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel to each other. Stretch your arms (but not rigidly) down alongside your torso, palms turned out, shoulders released.
2. Upward Salute:  Inhale and sweep your arms overhead in wide arcs. If your shoulders are tight, keep your hands apart and gaze straight ahead. Otherwise, bring your palms together, drop your head back, and gaze up at your thumbs.
3. Standing Forward Bend:   Exhaling, release your arms in wide arcs as you fold forward. Bend your knees if you feel pressure on your lower back and support your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor. Release your neck so that your head hangs heavily from your upper spine. 
4. Half Standing Forward Bend:  Inhale and push your fingertips down into the floor, straighten your elbows, then lift your front torso away from your thighs. Lengthen the front of your torso as you arch evenly along the entire length of your spine.
5. High Lunge:  Exhale and step your right foot back into a lunge. Center your left knee over the heel so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor, and bring your left thigh parallel to the floor. Firm your tailbone against your pelvis and press your right thigh up against the resistance. Inhale, reach back through your right heel. Lengthen the torso along the front of the left thigh. Look forward without strain.
6. Downward-Facing Dog Pose:  Exhale and step your left foot to Down Dog. Spread your palms and soles. Press the front of your thighs back as you press your inner hands firmly against the floor. Imagine that your torso is being stretched like a rubber band between the arms and legs.
7. Plank Pose:  Inhale and bring your torso forward until your shoulders are over your wrists. Your arms will be perpendicular to the floor. Try not to let your upper back collapse between the shoulder blades: press your outer arms inward, and then—against this resistance—spread your shoulder blades apart. Firm your tailbone against your pelvis and press your thighs up.
8. Four-Limbed Staff Pose:  Exhale as you bend your elbows and lower down to Chaturanga with your torso and legs parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders lifted up, away from the floor, and down, away from your ears. Lift the thighs away from the floor, lengthen your tailbone toward your heels, and draw the lower ribs away from the floor to avoid collapsing your lower back. Look down at the floor or slightly forward. If you can’t maintain your alignment, place your knees on the floor until you have built more strength.
9. Upward-Facing Dog Pose:Inhale, straighten your arms, and sweep your chest forward into Up Dog. Keep your legs active, firm your tailbone toward your heels, and press your front thighs upward. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Look straight ahead or look slightly upward.
10. Exhale back to Down Dog:  To finish the Sun Salutation, step the right foot forward into a Lunge, then inhale into Ardha Uttanasana and exhale into Uttanasana. Inhale into Urdhva Hastasana and exhale to Tadasana. Observe your body and breath. 
After You Finish

REST DEEPLY End by devoting at least 20 to 25 percent of your total practice time to Corpse Pose.

By Richard Rosen
www.yogajournal.com

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Make sure that you have adequate instructions about how to do these poses before you do them. Leisure Living, it’s contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.