Just when you thought Triangle Pose Utthita Trikonasa was easy, here’s a practice/pattern interruption:
There are a few ways to get into Triangle and what I find to be the easiest ways to teach it without confusion is either from Warrior II or from standing.
Standing/Tadasana: From standing an easy transition to triangle pose is to slightly bend the knees into a half chair, Uttkatasana, glide the right leg back 3-4feet (depending on your height), and pivot the right heel to the floor for an approximate 60-degree angle.
Warrior II: If teaching from Warrior II, the feet are at the same angle and you are ready to follow the remaining steps.
- Root the big toe mounds and heels down and then toward each other (isometrically).
- Engage the knees into the thighs by lifting the kneecap upward engaging the quadriceps.
It’s easy to get tired in this pose feeling the weight of the torso for a period of time, so it’s important to stay mindful to keep the legs engaged and the knees unlocked.
- Isometrically squeeze the feet toward each other (as if you could wrinkle up the middle of your mat) to further the strength of the feet, inner thighs, and legs. This will later aid in opening the right hip (TFL) and gluteus muscles (Glute Max, Medius & insertion of most Gluteal muscles.)
- Instead of dropping the left hip down, which is often done so one can reach their foot, ankle or floor, keep the left hip neutral. Placing the hands on the waist will assure the hip doesn’t drop; instead, feel the hip remain lifted.
Now, extend the arms out as in Warrior II.
- Utthita=Extended; therefore, Lengthen the waist – JUST THE WAIST- without dropping the hip as you lower the left hand to the shin below the knee.
- Lift the right arm, wrist over shoulder, fingers open.
- Tilt the pubic bone up toward the navel.
- Draw the low ribs down toward the navel.
Now you should feel: Length through the right hip, waist and ribs and toning along the left waist as BKS Iyengar has described in Light On Yoga.
There are a many adjustments to make in this pose through the legs, buttocks, pelvis, head, arms but try this for now and see how it feels.
For some of us the ego says, “Touch the floor!” but try making this pose your practice by keeping the hand closer to the lower knee so you can go deep in opening and toning instead of dropping into it as you think it should look.
If this is just too crazy for you to change your pose/pattern you’ve been doing for so long try this:
Go into triangle the way you always have but once you’re in it (where the bottom hip drops down) draw the bottom hip back up into the waistline to shorten the waist, strengthening it.
Enjoy and remember to breathe and soften your face to a smile.
Learn more by purchasing my book: Yoga’s Touch: Hands-On Adjustments, Alignment & Verbal Cues
In Love & Yoga