Exploring Alternatives to Trikonasana: A Deeper Dive into the Triangle Posture

Triangle is a lovely side stretching and opening asana and so energising. It can be hard to see whether you are keeping the body in line or not. Try alternatives, to help you practice observing the awareness of where the parts of your body are.

What are we trying to achieve? We want the turned out foot parallel with the long edge of the mat and the other foot turned in slightly The hips are parallel with the long edge of the mat. Spine is tall and with the arms at shoulder level. We tip over at the waist, allowing the hand to drop towards the ground as the other arm lifts up. We are opening out the top side of the body and stretching up that side and are able to breathe comfortably in the posture. It is smooth and warming as we are activating Manipura chakra behind the navel.

In reality, we are often uncomfortable and can hardly breath. We strain downwards and stick the buttocks out to give us more room to reach the floor. This creates a twist at the bottom of the spine, so the top shoulder either pushes back to compensate which forces the shoulder out of line or doesn’t compensate so increases the twist. We are left straining and with poor breath control.

As you are practising alternatives, be aware of the muscles working, what your breath feels like and how comfortable you feel. As always with these things, if it hurts, stop immediately. Take care of your Self and be responsible.

Reach for the Floor:

Lie down on your mat with space around you to practice on the floor. Your shoulders, hips and heels will stay in a line, so you are not going to twist at all! One foot is turned out, the other turned slightly in. The hips stay level. Arms start at shoulder level and then you move a bit at a time, to bring the bottom arm towards the turned out leg and move the other arm along the ground to lengthen the top side. Picture yourself in Triangle standing and that is what you are doing, but lying down. This may give you an insight into how much you are twisting when working standing.

Seated Triangle:

Sit on a chair with a flat seat, with your back against the chair back and your legs and feet apart in as wide a stride as is comfortable for your hips. Turn one foot out and the other slightly in and lift your arms to shoulder level. Let your top arm slide down behind your out-turned knee, with the back of the chair keeping your spine in line. Beware that you don’t come too far- there is some danger of spilling over! Use your turned out foot to be a focal point for your balance.

These are just a few ideas to try a very familiar posture in a slightly different way. If you can try them with awareness of what the body is doing at any given moment, you may well find how it works with your body. Anything that we can do to keep our mind focussed on the moment is important and is the essence of why we do our practice.

Sara Matchett, YHET Chair and Trustee

We hope you enjoyed these practices and we invite you to explore further practices in the extended article available to members under INSIGHTS in the DOWNLOADS section. Not a member? Click here to join us.

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