I used to hate Triangle pose. Doesn’t sound very yogic does it? Well, I’m only human, and lets face it, we all have poses that for one reason or another we just don’t like. Usually it’s because we perceive that we can’t do them “right”. I can hardly even remember why I hated Triangle. I just didn’t understand it and I didn’t think I was any good at at. Then I began to learn about the alignment of the pose, and the more I learned how to work my muscles into the pose, the more I enjoyed it. Suddenly I was “good” at it and I loved it!
I loved the way that rotating the thighs in the opposite direction gave me purpose. I loved how curling my tailbone under gave me the strength and power in the core to rotate my heart up towards the ceiling. And I loved how the support of my fingertips on the ground and my arms spread evenly gave me the balance to simply breathe and be present.
Now, I have come full circle and I struggle with Triangle again. Pushing too hard into my front leg hurts my knee so I have to be really careful to keep a microbend in the knee and engage the quadricept. So triangle reminds me to be mindful and love myself enough to protect my knee. Triangle reminds me to balance the power of my legs with the opening of my heart. Triangle reminds me that we never “master” a pose. That’s why we call it a practice.
To practice Triangle:
Stand in Tadasana in the center of your sticky mat, facing the long edge. Jump your feet wide apart so that the wrists are approximately over the ankles. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees to the right to face the short edge of your mat, and your left toes in just a bit towards the right.
Pause and take a softening breath.
Make your legs strong, hugging muscle into bone on all sides. Extend your arms out to the sides and fold at the right hip crease, bringing your right fingertips to the outside of your right ankle. You can modify for tight hamstrings by bringing fingertips to a block or somewhere on the shin or ankle to enable you to keep the right side of your waist from crunching.
Bring your torso in line with your legs. There may be a tendency to try to widen the left hipbone away from the body in order to do this, which will actually compress your hips. Instead, reach the inner thighs back, allowing the left hipbone to stay in line with the left knee.
Now curl your tailbone into the space you just created. Focus especially on the right side of the tailbone curling under. This is called outer spiral, and you will feel it in the right thigh rotating outwards as well. If you feel pressure or pain in the right knee like I do, push down into your right foot and draw your knee up to your quadricept.
Now, from the power in your legs, turn your heart up towards the sky.
Breathe softly and deeply. Enjoy the moment.