True or False? There are three points and three sides of a triangle?
Keep that in mind as you practice the triangle pose.
For me, as I practice yoga, I try to think about how many triangles my body can make as I hold this pose. Sometimes I focus on one triangle (both feet and hips), and other times I feel ready to take on more than one triangle from the two hands and back foot and so on.
First, let me explain that the Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana, pronounced oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna) is a standing, TWISTING pose which means one will engage the core area. Any twisting poses in yoga will require the use of your abdominals. Beginning from a Warrior II position, I straighten my front knee, pushing the front foot’s weight into the back hip. Both feet are still planted firmly into the ground, pressing through all four corners of each foot (Four corners being big toe, pinky toe, and back two corners of the heel).
Next I reach out through my front hand and arm to the wall in front of me as well as the back hand reaching back leaving an open chest. As I press off my front foot towards the back hip, I reach with my front hand whileI fold sideways toward the front leg. My arm continues to reach out while my feet are very strong and grounded. I land where the pose takes me…meaning my reaching hand (supporting or grounding hand) places itself in the most comfortable, free position. For me personally, my reach takes me to the floor (as shown in the pic above) or sometimes it takes me to my front shin. Do not force yourself to go beyond what your body tells you. You still want to keep proper, healthy alignment throughout your transitions and in the pose itself.
Not only are you moving into your feet and hips in this pose, but you will remember I mentioned this pose is a “twisting pose”. That is true. I want to build my pose from the ground up. Once I get good positioning and a strong stance for me, I can focus on the core (the “twisting”). To do this I simply want to twist my torso using my abdominals. I like to use my two lower ribs to help me open the twist more. In order to twist, I pull my belly button towards my lower spine as to protect my lower back. Keeping the belly pulled in, I take my bottom two ribs and twist open my waist so I can allow my shoulders to stack over one another. If my top shoulder wants to fall outward or inward from the pose, then I listen to my body and it tells me my supporting hand is too far down. If that is the case all I simply need to do is walk my hand up my front leg (shin area) until my shoulders become stacked one right over the other.
When building my pose from the ground up and I get to the section of the arms, I like to think of the wings of an airplane. When a jet or airplane is flying in the sky, the wings of the aircraft are side by side; one cannot move lower or higher than the other. They both are stationary. My arms should be the same. If my arms are not stacked or straight, the problem likes lies more in my forward fold and I have to walk my supporting hand up the leg until I know I am straight and strong in the arms.
Once I build the arms portion of my pose I am ready to continue building the pose upward from the ground. First it was feet, then hips, then waist, shoulders then arms. Next it is the neck and head. As my shoulders and arms align correctly I am ready to press the shoulder blades down my spine towards my hips and away from my ears keeping the spine very long. The crown of the head begins to reach out away from the shoulders.
Finally, breathe deep for 6-12 breathes. Inhaling and exhaling only through my nasal passage. Standing full in the triangle pose, I take the time to reach into all 3 corners of whichever triangle the mind leads me to. It could be what I call the “base” triangle of both my feet and the hips, or it could be my head, hips and front leg, or it could be a right triangle of both hands and my back leg. No matter which triangle I focus on, I want to generate power in those three points creating strength.
As I begin to be full into the pose I can then open my heart and let go of judgment, competition and expectation. Awww. Peace.
Note: As I practice and become ready, I can lift my torso weight from the supporting or grounding hand and simply balance using the power and strength in my base triangle found within my feet and hips.