Trikonasana – Triangle Pose
Triangle pose, also called Trikonasana (“trikona” is a Sanskrit word for “triangle,” while “asana” means “pose”), is a foundational standing pose in yoga which creates an open and spacious feeling. The posture is named for the triangle shape your body makes during the move. It is great for either beginner or more advanced yogis and can benefit both your physical and mental health.
Like many yoga poses, the triangle pose carries a few benefits for your body and mind, such as:
- Increased stability. The triangle pose activates your core muscles, which aids in balance and stability.
- Stretching and lengthening the spine. This pose can reduce stiffness in the spine and back, resulting in increased flexibility.
- Opening the hips and shoulders. The triangle pose unlocks the hip flexors and shoulders, increasing mobility and reducing injury risk.
- Stimulating your organs:activates your core, which can stimulate your digestive organs, potentially improving your metabolism.
- Reducing stress. The triangle pose can target the lower back, which is where some people carry their stress. This pose can help release that tension, resulting in reduced anxiety and a more stable emotional state.
- Strengthening and stretching inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, and chest.
- Energising, balancing and improving focus.
Trikonasana has the potential to teach us a lot about the human body—the relationship between the front and back of the body, between the pelvis and the spine, and between the inner and outer foot.
The pelvis is our centre for both stability and movement. We could consider working with our nervous system as one intention of yoga practice. The spine houses the spinal cord and is, physiologically, an important part of our central nervous system. The spine is also surrounded by all of the muscles we use to control our breathing. When we bend the spine, we lengthen or contract many of these muscles. Movement around the spine with controlled breathing is a tool we can use to explore our nervous system. Triangle pose offers us the opportunity to begin opening tissues around the pelvis and increasing mobility in the spine. We also might use these postures to begin exploring our foot foundation, to develop balance between grounding and lifting, or to work with learning to breathe into a twist.
The breathing and nadi-opening (energy channels, known as meridians in Chinese Medicine) benefits of trikonasana are tangible. It has a strong impact the balance of the nadis. Triangle pose, almost uniquely, has the benefit of stretching directly down the interior arm through lung meridian and impacting breathing quite directly.
Another huge element of trikonasana is the application of mula bandha, or root lock. Engaging the pelvic floor in any posture can help us prevent injury elsewhere. When we engage more consciously from our foundations, we are less likely to allow flexibility to override stability.
Becoming more tuned to the energetics of trikonasana with breath and bandha helps us to customize the pose, creating the healthiest possible versions for ourselves.
The intention or intentions that seem most relevant often change as you continue to practise. If you understand yoga postures as poses that are in relationship to one another and build on each other, then some intentions might seem more primary. One thematic intention that continues throughout the standing postures, as I understand them, is the balance between grounding (mula) and (uddiyana) lifting. It’s a balance between effort and relaxation. Both feet are creating a grounding or mula element in triangle and revolved triangle by pressing into the floor. If we bind the toe in triangle, we can use resistance between reaching down with the toes and reaching up with the fingers to create length. Any body part that is placed on the ground offers us an opportunity for grounding. Lengthening is created when we reach away with the upper arm.
We can work with many different intentions in this posture depending on our own bodies and where we are in our yoga practice life. It’s important to remember that wherever we are working when we begin to explore this posture, that the pose is not static. We are always doing the poses in the context of our own body and in relationship to other postures. Our intentions for triangle in our own practice can and will change as our practice evolves.
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