As we come to a close with the series, “What Your Favorite Yoga Pose Says About You,” I’ll ring in Trikonasana or Triangle Pose. In Sanskrit, tri means three and kona means corner, which is the shape of the body (primarily the legs) when expressing this fundamental yoga pose.
Another one of my favorite poses (notice the theme of the selection process here), Trikonasana strengthens the core, particularly the obliques. Control your descent and ascent into the pose with your core to protect your back and hips. We often strengthen our rectus abdominus muscles (upper), but neglect our transverse abdominals (lower), and obliques. And when our core muscles atrophy, our back weakens. When done correctly, triangle stretches the muscles of the groin, ankles, hamstrings, calves, hips, spine and chest. Tight hips often manifest in back pain, so this opening pose can actually relieve back pain.
From Tadasana (mountain pose), step your left foot back three and a half feet or more, and ground your left foot so it’s parallel with the back edge of your mat. A good way to determine if your stance is wide enough is to spread your arms and see if your ankles are below your wrists. From this standing pose, shift your hips back toward the back of your mat and extend your right arm far out over your right ankle before lowering your right hand to the floor to ensure length in the side body and spine. Be careful not to lock your knees and ground your right big toe into the mat so you aren’t rolling to the outside of your foot. This subtle adjustment facilitates strengthening the arch of your foot.
Let go of ego when sinking into Triangle. If you can’t bring your hands all the way to the floor without collapsing into your side, bring your hands up to your shin or a block. Open your hips, open your chest, extend your left arm and gaze to the ceiling and protect your neck by keeping your head parallel to the floor and maintain length in both sides of the neck.
Since triangle stimulates the abdominal organs, this pose stimulates digestion. In addition to relieving stress, anxiety and backpain such as sciatica, this is a weight bearing pose, so it’s beneficial for building bone mass for people with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Caution: As with any reclined pose where your head may be lower than or in the same plane as the heart, be careful if you have blood pressure or heart problems. If you have neck problems, keep your gaze straight ahead.
The hip and heart opening elements of this pose, align most closely to the sacral (second) and heart (fourth) chakras. If you’re geometrically inclined to gravitate toward triangle, you are creative, compassionate, in touch with your emotions and your mind is open to new possibilities. If you struggle with triangle, you can work on opening and stretching your hips in poses like Baddha Konasana (bound angle) and Kapotasana (pigeon). You can open your heart to this pose by practicing forgiveness inwardly and outwardly.
Here are a couple of affirmations that you can recite aloud or silently to activate these chakras:
- All of my thoughts and emotions flow harmoniously. All of my desires are perfectly balanced.
- I willingly release all fears, concerns and worries about giving and receiving love.
- My heart is open and flows freely with love for myself and others. I allow myself to easily give and receive love.
Affirmations courtesy of connectingwiththelight.com.
I used to do my home practice to a Sara Ivanhoe DVD, and I loved her cues on getting into triangle. She says things like, “Enjoy the ride down,” as you descend into the pose, and, “I do a different triangle, every time,” about the presence of the pose. Tonight, as you step into your equilateral asana, try to enjoy the ride and know that you are a perfect work of geometry.
-Your Charmed Yogi