The Benefits of Trikonasana – Triangle pose
This strong standing pose is a fantastic way to build strength in the legs and core as well as opening up the chest, hips and side body. Trikonasana works with your deep internal hip flexor muscle, the psoas, to hold your torso extended out towards the bottom leg and ceiling. This makes Triangle pose a fantastic strengthening yoga pose for the psoas. Other Trikonasana benefits include toning your legs and strengthening your obliques in your side waist.
This foundation yoga pose takes its name from the triangular stance that you put your body into. A common mistake when doing this standing yoga pose is to miss out a lot of the alignment steps for Trikonasana which help you to find the space your searching for in the pose. One misconception is that Triangle pose is all about getting your hand down on the floor. But doing this means that the benefits of Trikonasana are often sacrificed in for form over function. Remember that one of the main aims of this pose is to open yourself up, both across your chest and along the sides of your body. This is very difficult to achieve if you’re hunched over yourself leaning forward in order to place your hand on the floor.
Trikonasana steps and alignment
- Step your feet wide apart so that your hips are facing lengthways on the mat. Note that there is no specific distance for your stance, it really is down to personal choice, but it is worth experimenting with the width of your stance as the wider apart your feet are will affect how you experience the pose.
- Next, turn your right foot out 90 degrees so that it’s facing the short end of the mat. The left foot can stay facing directly ahead or you can turn it in very slightly which is said to give your knee a little more protection.
- Once your feet are positioned begin to lift up actively through the arches of your feet and your legs to engage the quadriceps and hamstrings. This will help to stabilise the knee joint and pelvis.
- Then, start to extend your right arm out in the direction of your front foot, lengthening through both sides of your torso as you do this.
- When you can’t extend any further hinge at the right hip and bring your arm down so that your hand rests on either your thigh, a block, your calf or the floor. Your top arm is stretching directly up to the sky so that both arms draw a straight vertical line.
- Keep on opening up across your chest. Feel like you’re pushing your top hand back against an imaginary wall to prevent your chest from turning towards the floor. However, you don’t want to come into a backbend here either.
- Try to draw the top hip back and wrap the bottom buttock under to bring yourself onto as much of a sideways plane as possible.
- Look straight ahead or if you can, up at the top hand.
- Keep pushing down evenly through both feet, preventing you from dropping all the weight onto the front leg. Pushing down through the outside of your back foot will help with this and help keep your legs really engaged.
- If you have a tendency to overextend your front knee then keep a micro bend in it and focus on engaging the surrounding leg muscles.
- If you hyperextend in your front knee then try placing a block between your calf and the floor. Place the block at an angle to jam your calf in place and stop it from going past its safe range of motion ROM.
- Try pushing your back foot up against a wall and really push into it to power up your often lazy back leg. This helps to create healthy muscle memory.
- Experiment with practising the pose with your back against a wall. This gives you a reference point to push back in to and supports you getting into a sideways plane.
To learn all about the benefits of Downward Facing Dog click here.