Triangle Pose – Trikonasana [TREE-kon-asana]
Performing the Asana
To begin from standing, turn sideways on the mat and separate the feet wide apart to the side. Ideally, the ankles should be under the wrists; however, it is not necessary for the beginner to assume the ideal alignment at first. The width of the feet will depend on the flexibility and balance of the practitioner. Turn the right toes out to the right 90 degrees and angle the left foot slightly inward. The outer edge of the left foot should be parallel to the back of the mat or even turned a bit more inward. Make sure the hips and shoulders remain square to the side of the mat.
Inhale and bring the arms to the side at shoulder height. Press your weight into the outer edge of the left foot, causing your hips to tilt slightly toward the front foot. Reach toward the right with the ribs. From the waist, begin tilting the torso downward to the right, keeping the shoulders square to the side of the mat, looking straight ahead, and not allowing the chest to rotate to face the front leg. As the torso leans, stretch should be felt in the right inner thigh and the left waist. When you have reached the optimum level of stretch for your body on this day, find a comfortable place on the leg, foot, or behind the foot on the mat to place your right hand for stability. This is not a perch; keep lengthening through both sides of the waist and the crown of the head as you deepen the pose. Reach the left arm upward. If you feel stable and balanced, you may turn your head to look up toward the left hand.
Hold the pose 1 to 2 minutes, breathing deeply and lengthening through the waist. To exit, return the head to face forward. On an inhalation, press the feet firmly into the mat and reach up and back with the left arm until your torso is again upright with arms at shoulder height. Exhale, relax the arms and either reposition the feet to perform trikonasana on the other side or walk the feet together.
If you wish to perform a counter posture after trikonasana, simply bring the top arm down, placing the palms on either side of the front foot, step back into adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog), and then sit back into balasana (child’s pose).
Contraindications and Modifications
This posture should not be practiced: when you have diarrhea, if you have low blood pressure, or if you have a headache.
If you have high blood pressure, turn the gaze downward instead of upward in the final pose and keep the upper hand on the hip instead of raising it overhead.
If you have neck issues, keep the gaze forward and lengthen through the crown of the head.
If you feel pain in the lower back, turn the back foot more inward and allow the top hip to rotate naturally downward, keeping the shoulders square to the mat. This reduces the strain across the sacroiliac joint. The hips will gradually open to allow a more square stance as consistent practice continues.
This is an excellent posture for pregnant women, especially through the second trimester, and can relieve back pain during pregnancy. However, as always, please consult with your physician before attempting the posture and proceed with caution. Pay attention to your comfort level and err on the side of caution with regard to deepening the pose. If balance is a concern, please practice the posture with the back against a wall.
Trikonasana increases flexibility in the groins, hamstrings, and calves; strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles; stimulates the abdominal organs, in particular the kidneys; stimulates digestion and relieves constipation; reduces anxiety and stress; reduces acidity in the body; removes fat deposits from the waist and thighs; relieves sciatica and backache, especially during pregnancy; and provides relief to those with spinal-disc displacement and/or arthritis of the spine.