Hey darlings. Here´s your Yoga Recipe, this time making a shapes in the form of a -wait for it- TRIANGLE. . .
You didn´t deserve that awful pun. Let me rephrase.
In today´s instalment, we´re exploring Triangle pose, a.k.a Trikonasana if you´re Sanskrit inclined. It´s a standing pose that pretty much opens us up in all directions and can help us build strength, stability and confidence.
That said, I used to despise it.
But now, it´s one of my favourite friends.
We´ve come a long way (baby).
One of the major constraints I had with this pose was an uneven distribution of weight. See that lower arm there? It was the bane of the pose. I was initially taught to let it hang in space which is (frankly) flipping heavy. And not even. At all. No disrespect to anyone and their preferences, but for me, this pose is all about getting your foundations correct and stable. On and off the mat. If you´re moving into something and you´re feeling unsteady, set the space to be supported. In this case, I recommend practicing this pose with a wall behind you to lean against. Your feet hands need to work together in order to open things up. The feet benefit from pressing downward into the earth in order to gather strength to bounce up into the legs (this is also a great practice to do anywhere if you want to become more grounded – simply feeling the ground beneath you, then evenly pressing into it, imagining you´re growing roots to anchor your place. Sounds cheesy but I think it works).
Your bottom hand works in a similar way to your feet here: Having something beneath it to push down on, can help the upper body to feel lighter. This is particularly useful if you struggle with core strength and bearing weight through your upper body as I did in those days when Triangle and I weren´t friends. There´s a lot of parallels with this pose and warrior 2 and they can compliment each other really nicely. It´s a similar opening for the hips, but totally different opening for other parts of the bod.
Let´s break it down, shall we?
1) Before you get ta steppin´, take a moment to connect to your breath and find an easy, consistent and steady rhythm. Then, take a wide step out with your feet parallel. Feel into the shape of your feet and try to have an even feel through both feet. Take your hands to your hips and turn your right foot out 90 degrees towards the top of your mat. Try to maintain that even shape of the outline of your feet. Try to align your front knee in the same plane as the centre of your front foot.
2) Raise your arms up to shoulder height so they are parallel to the floor with the palms face down. Start to reach through your fingertips and feel the broadening through your chest.
3) Take a deep inhale. As you exhale, begin to reach out through your right fingertips and allow yourself to hinge forward from your waist. Simultaneously, edge your left hip back towards the wall behind your left foot. It´s almost a push-pull action as your right arm and right leg are leaning towards the right, yet your left hip is trying to move more towards the left. This might help to activate the top of the right leg a little more, as well as give you a nice stretch through the left outer hip and side body.
4) Windmill your arms so your right hand can reach down to either a high block/book or your leg. It´s important for this hand to have something to rest on so it can push down. Then, from this pressing down of the right hand, stretch your right arm up in the air so your hands and shoulders are stacked in a vertical line. Feel the space and vast openness of this shape and breathe into it.
5) The rotation of your pelvis will differ like every pose does between bodies. The pose can feel heavy if we are a leaning the upper body forward and the bum back, so imagine you have a wall behind you (or better still, practice at a wall). Sometimes the top hip rolls a bit more towards the floor than it does towards the ceiling. You can play with this rotation by taking your left hand to your left hip and rotate the pelvis up and down to find the best shape for you. Avoid over stretching the pelvis here as it will compress the low back which AINT NO FUN. When you find the right placement, stretch your left arm up into the air again. Try to notice if your right side body is shrinking, and if possible, lengthen it longer.
6) Your head can look in any direction that feels best for you. Looking up can feel the most challenging, so if you are prone to having issues in your neck, either look ahead or down to your foot. Hold for up to10 breaths, then press even more strongly into your feet, begin reaching your left arm towards the wall behind you, inhale and come up. Turn your feet parallel with your hands on your hips. Pause, before repeating the other side.
- Stretching hamstrings, groins, hips.
- Opening chest and shoulders and (by rotating head) stretching the neck.
- Relieves low back pain
- Peps up digestion and improves metabolism through the stimulation of the organs of the torso.
- Nice when it´s the time of the month ladies and if you feel up for a practice.
- Strengthens muscles in the thighs, hips and back. Tones knees and ankles.
- Can be a great stretch if you suffer with anxiety – that confidence-building sturdy opening getting you back on your feet, so to speak. Also can be a great one if you suffer with sciatica. But if you do suffer with sciatica, it can be a very individual experience as to what soothes and irritates it, so as always, heed caution.
- You have any stomach issues.
- Low blood pressure.
- If you´re ever have medical concerns, it´s always good to have a chat with your doctor.