If you're feeling tight in the hips or side body, Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) should be your go-to pose. It's part of the primary series in ashtanga, and I always relish the moment when I know it's coming up in the sequence: it's perfect for giving much-needed love to muscle groups that tend to get overlooked. If you want to take this pose to the next level in your practice, here are four helpful tips to make your Triangle even stronger.
- Start it off right: To set up the pose in proper alignment, I like to take a few strong, deep breaths in Warrior 2 before heading into a full expression of Trikonasana. From Warrior 2, straighten your front leg — with a tiny microbend in your knee for stability, if you need it — and start pulling your torso forward, toward your front foot. Keep your arms in the traditional Warrior 2 stance as you reach forward until you feel a solid stretch.
- Plant your feet: Setting a strong foundation is essential in any standing pose for balance, but your Triangle will reap the benefits if your feet are planted firmly on the ground. Once you get into the initial shape, stabilize yourself by spreading your toes wide and trying to plant all four corners of your feet on the ground. Engage your quads and make sure you're equally spreading the weight between your front and back foot.
- Take a variation: Feeling overstretched, understretched, or just plain uncomfortable in your Triangle? Time to take a variation. If you're feeling overstretched, don't be afraid to shorten your stance to get more grounded, or to employ the help of a block. If you want an even bigger opening in your side body, try Open Triangle or take a big juicy bind like in Twisting Extended Side Angle. If you don't shift gears to where you feel most comfortable and open, you're just doing yourself a disservice in the pose.
- Open up your heart: In Trikonasana, your chest and hip are rotating up toward the sky. Once you're in the full expression of Triangle, be sure to keep your gaze on the end of your extended fingertips to keep this reaching upward sensation in the forefront of your mind. Understanding the sensation of this openness will bring a whole new life to this pose, which might be trapping stale energy in your back body. As you breathe deeper and become more comfortable, keep making the conscious decision to help your torso off your thigh, and engage your extended arm for a even bigger lift and stretch. Your body will thank you for it!
Keep reading for two more tips for a better Triangle Pose.