Friday, March 4, 2016

Trikonasana--Triangle Pose

Triangle pose is known as Trikonasana in Sanskrit—tri meaning three and kona meaning corner. Triangle is a therapeutic pose that provides many benefits including strengthening of the core and legs.

Starting from standing mountain pose, turn sideways on your mat and come into 5-pointed star pose. Spread your feet apart approximately the length of one of your legs--this usually works out to be about three or four feet apart. Look down at your feet, your left big toe should line up exactly with your right big toe to ensure your hips are in perfect alignment.

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

Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg. You’re your torso in the same plane as your hips and legs (imagine your body is between two 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 your body. Imagine that the right side of your body is just as long as the left—don’t crunch up the right side to go deeper. 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, causing 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 back against the hand with the right shin. Drop the right side of your body (shoulder and torso) and open your left body. Your head should be held neutral, making sure not to drop it out of alignment. If you want to go deeper, you can turn your head and gaze at your left hand. The goal is to feel long and extended and still be able to breathe.

Alignment target (when doing pose to the right side)
  • right heel is in line with arch of left foot
  • right foot, right knee, right hip/buttock, right shoulder, crown of the head, right arm, left arm should be in the same plane.
Common alignment fault
  • right buttock protruding back behind the line of the feet
  • head and torso in front of the front leg.
Instructions for improving alignment

    • roll right buttock under the right thigh
    • line up side ribs on right side above the right thigh
    • line up right ear with right thigh (when eyes are looking forward).

    To release: inhale and reach the raised hand up towards the ceiling (you can imagine you are grabbing a hanging vine to help pull you up) as you press down into the feet using the whole body to lift back into 5- pointed star.

    Repeat on the other side.

    Benefits of Triangle Pose

       Strengthens Triangle pose engages every part of the body. It strengthens the core, opens     the hips and shoulders and stretches the legs, including the muscles around the knee, ankle joints, groin muscles, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine
                    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

    Modifications: Use a yoga block on the floor to support the lower hand.

    Variations: A) Bring the raised arm over the ear parallel to the floor. B) The lower hand can rest on the floor on the inside or outside of the leg, or the 
    lower hand can grasp the big toe with the middle and index fingers.

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