Guest Author - Martha McKinnon
Triangle pose or trikonasana is a beneficial standing pose that simultaneously strengthens and stretches the body in multiple directions. It increases strength and flexibility of the feet, legs, hips, lengthens the spine, and opens the chest and shoulders. Continued practice can help relieve the symptoms of sciatica too.
As with all the standing poses, triangle pose is a great basic pose for beginners and experienced yoga enthusiasts providing the foundation required for more challenging postures, by building the balanced strength required to safely support increased flexibility. It may seem counterintuitive but healthy flexibility flows from strength.
To perform triangle pose, from mountain pose, step your feet wide apart. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Ideally your ankles will be beneath your wrists. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and turn your left foot in slightly. Align the heel of your right foot with the arch of your left foot and firmly snuggle your feet into your mat. Itís important to establish a strong foundation for your pose.
Reach out with your right arm as you draw your hips to the left and then place your right hand on your ankle, the floor, or your shin depending on your current level of flexibility. You can also place your right hand on a block or brick if it feels more comfortable. Just donít place your hand directly on your knee to keep it safe.
Stretch your left arm from your shoulder out toward the ceiling with your palm facing forward. Gently hug your leg muscles toward their bones and make sure you are not hyper-extending your knees.
Take several smooth steady breaths as you stretch out in all directions. Turn your head to look down, forward, or up to your left hand, whatever feels best for your neck.
To come out of the pose safely, pull your legs together, lower your left arm and come up slowly and strongly.
Repeat triangle pose on the left.
In addition to its physical benefits, practicing triangle pose on a regular basis will also help to increase endurance, focus, and willpower.