Asana of the Week: Trikonasana

Trikonasana or triangle pose can be one of the first challenging postures a beginner experiences. Often times, beginners feel compelled to push through the posture, looking to bring their hand on to the mat, losing alignment. Triangle is a difficult posture, so remember to leave your ego behind (easier said than done at times!), and take time developing this pose into your practice.

Your practice will forever evolve, so play with the posture, and never be afraid to use props or even a wall to improve your alignment. Even the more advanced student can benefit from taking this pose to a wall to bring awareness deeper into the posture.

Trikonasana is an invigorating pose, which opens the hips, hamstrings, shoulders, and spine. It brings strength to the ankles, legs, and arms.

Let’s Break it down:

1. Standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), bring you big toes together and heels slightly apart. Exhale, stepping back with one foot and aligning your heels. Your front foot faces forward, your back foot faces slightly out.

2. Bring your arms parallel to the mat and shoulder height. Relax in the upper body, ground yourself and lift your crown tall.

3. Keep both knees straight, lift through your thighs, and activate your core.

4. Exhale, and extend your front hand forward. Reach your fingertips, shifting our weight and lengthening the tailbone to the back leg. Remember to bend forward from the hip joint.

5. Hinge at the hips, and slowly bring your front hand down, towards the front ankle. Beginner tip: Place your hand directly onto a block, positioned at the inside of your front foot. Advanced: Play with the posture. Using your “peace sign” fingers, bind the big toes or to challenge your hamstrings, move your hand to the outside of the front foot.

6. Reach your opposite arm up towards the ceiling, lengthening through the shoulders.

7. Keep your crown neutral or slowly turn your gaze up towards your thumb.

8. Hold the pose for 4-5 slow steady breathes. Focus on opening your heart, aligning the shoulders, and keeping the weight even between both feet.

9. Inhale to release the pose.

10. Repeat the posture on the opposite side.

More on a Beginner’s Approach:
– Tight hamstrings? Using a block is an excellent way to release tension on your hamstrings and maintain alignment in the upper body.
-Place your hand on a block, and push gently through your palm. This will improve shoulder mobility and allow you to better stack the shoulders.
-Tight shoulders? Bend your top hand at the elbow and bring it onto your waist. Here the focus moves to opening the heart and bringing the top shoulder directly over the bottom.
– Off balance? Bring your posture to a wall, to help maintain alignment in the hips and torso.

To prevent injury:
– Focus on maintaining your weight evenly between all four corners of the feet.
-Be mindful not to rest your entire body weight over the front leg or knee.
– Always keep your front knee in alignment with your front big toe. This action protects your knee and its ligaments from excess strain.
-Be mindful of your shoulders, working towards elevating your top shoulder over the bottom, opening your spine. Your upper chest and arm should remain active throughout the posture.
– To stimulate your ankles and feet, lift and separate your toes off the mat, using your legs to firmly root yourself.

Explore the Benefits:
-Wonderful opening for hips, hamstrings, shoulders and ankles.
-Lengthens the hamstrings, spine and groin.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and intestines.
-Improves balance and core strength.
-Improves concentration.
Take your time with this posture. Although seemingly simple, the full posture is complex. Each practice you visit your Trikonasana, try and focus on different elements of the posture, and experiment with the position of your hips, shoulders and spine.

Contributing editor: Elysia Baldassara. Elysia is a chiropractor and associate professor at George Brown College. She is also proud to be one of Yoga Tree’s incredible registered Yoga instructors.