Triangle Pose

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Trikonasana

Popular in many styles of yoga, tri means three and kona means corner or angle in Sanskrit, thus triangle pose.  Triangle is a therapeutic pose that provides the practitioner with many benefits including strengthening of core and legs.

 

How to:  Triangle Pose

Starting from standing mountain pose, turn sideways on your mat.  Walk or jump your feet apart approximately the length of one of your legs.  Many teacher say feet should be 3-4 feet apart, the aforementioned way is much more accurate a measurement, as people are infinitely different in proportions.  It is very important to start this pose with perfect alignment so as you get deeper your pose is right on.  So look down at your feet, and make sure if you draw a straight line from your left big toe it would line up exactly with your right big toe.  This is to insure your hips are perfect from go!  

Turn your right toe out 90 degrees and turn your left foot in about 45 degrees.  Make sure you have a full external rotation (turn out to the right) of the right thigh so the right knee is aligned directly over the right foot.  This means your rotation of the right leg comes from the hip joint not the ankle joint.  Lift your arms up and extend them out directly from your shoulders.  Make your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing the floor.  Take a deep breathe and drop your shoulders out of your ears.

Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg.  Imagine your body is between to panes of glass.  Bend from the hip NOT the waist.  Keep activating and PRESSING down through the outer left foot to secure your pose and lengthen you body.  Also, keep pressing your whole right foot down being careful not to roll off your big toe connection to the floor.  You should imagine that the right side of your body is just as long as the left.  Do not crunch up the right side just to go deeper.  You slide the back of the right hand down the inner right shin until you feel resistance, then stop and hold.  Do not hold on to your ankle, doing that deactivates your abdominal muscles and causes you to sink your right shoulder into your right ear.  

You want to maintain a feeling of pressing the back of your hand against the inner right leg and at the same time pressing slight back against the hand with the right shin.  Drop your right side body (shoulder and torso) and open your left body.  Your head should be held neutral.  Don’t let your head drop out of alignment.  If you want to go deeper you can turn your head to gaze at your left hand.  You want to feel long and extended and still be able to take in your breath.

 

Benefits of Triangle Pose

Done properly and consistently there a many benefits to triangle pose including:

  • Stretching legs, muscles around the knee, ankle joint, hips, groin muscles, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine
  • Strengthens legs, knees, ankles, abdominals especially obliques, back
  • Stimulates function of abdominal organs
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves digestion and constipation
  • Helps to alleviate back pain and symptoms of menopause
  • Used therapeutically for anxiety, infertility, neck pain and sciatica


For the lay person or Yogi, Triangle pose is a great back strengthener.  The rigors of everyday life have a tendency to weaken our backs.  This is a pose that will work to strengthen the back and core at the same time, so they can support each other.  Because it is also a gently twist it helps our newly strong back stay supple and flexible as well, therefore helping to stave of detrimental effect of arthritis and osteoporosis.  It works the spine from your sacrum (base) all the way to the top of the neck.  The twisting action also acts like a massage to our internal organs, helping them to remain in top function and maintain their ability to rid toxins more efficiently.  We could all use a little help with detox in this world of chemicals and fumes.

For the Athlete, like the Yogi this pose is great for strengthening the core and back.  Having a strong yet flexible core and back is a quality many sports require.  Think of the actions of a soccer player, changing direction on the field every second.  Also a hockey player and his ever changing direction are in great need of not just physically powerful abs, but an equally strong back and flexibility to match.  Another reason athletes should practice triangle is because of its ability to open the muscles of the groin area.  This is a spot of great vulnerability to any athlete, so it is a good idea to keep the groin area flexible as well.  Since this is a standing pose it also calls on the bodies balance, which is an obvious attribute and athlete looks for.  Finally, the positioning of the legs in triangle requires a sturdy ankle.  Keeping your ankle with the right balance of stretch and openness will decrease the likelihood of twists and sprains.

Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly-trained teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:  If you are experiencing diarrhea, you are suffering from eye strain, varicose veins, and extreme fatigue.  Use caution when suffering from low blood pressure, have heart conditions, high blood pressure, or diagnosed neck problems.

Have fun exploring this pose and learning about your body.

 

About the Author

Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990. Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instruction and her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program www.poweryogaforsports.com. Gwen’s unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy,and nutrition, provide her clients, and athletes with overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga coach for several New York Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, New York Rangers, several major college teams,including Yale and UNC, and  many youth teams in a variety of sports. She is also the official spokesperson for AFRIN PureSea, and ambassador for Lululemon, her writing appears in Men's Health, Women's Health, Fitness Magazine and shape.com.  She has made appearances on NBC TODAY show and many TV news and national radio shows. Gwen also owns her own Yoga School where she trains people to teach the power yoga for sports system.

Gwen lives in the New York tri state area with her Husband, and three teenage boys.