Your Guide to Trikonasana aka the Triangle Pose

Aug/05/2021 / by KT Hall
triangle pose
Image credits: Alex Shaw via Unsplash

The triangle pose is a standing yoga pose. It’s ideal for both beginners and advanced yogis or yoginis. While offering a deep spine stretch, the pose can also optimize your mental and physical health.

Exploring Triangle Pose

Triangle pose yoga or Trikonasana त्रिकोणासन comes from the Sanskrit root words trikona (triangle) and asana (posture). This particular pose takes its name from the triangular shape that the body takes on to achieve this asana.

As a foundational standing pose, triangle pose yoga can help you stretch and lengthen your groin muscles, hamstrings, calves, knees and shoulder joints. Hence it’s ideal for runners as it can loosen the stabilizing muscles in the torso.

As there are about 49 different variations of the pose, explore them with your instructor. Because you have a variety of poses to practice, whether you go from Trikonasana to Patita Tarasana (Fallen Star), there are multiple ways to increase your endurance and flexibility.

The Benefits of Triangle Pose

Triangle pose has several benefits to the body, spirit and mind. It can help to increase stability within the core muscle groups while also reducing stiffness in the neck and back. Another benefit is that the pose unlocks the shoulders and hip flexors for a better range of motion and increased mobility. Reducing the risk of injury, triangle pose can give you added flexibility.

Triangle pose is also a stress reducer and is used for different purposes. Alleviating tension in the low back, it pose can give you a more balanced emotional state of being. The pose may also aid in reducing back pain and it may help to decrease the symptoms associated with menopause. The pose is used to treat sciatica, osteoporosis and flat feet, and can also help to reduce neck pain, infertility and anxiety.

As one of the asanas that work in multiple groups, the triangle pose can reduce muscle and joint stiffness. Serving as an organ stimulator, the triangle pose can raise your metabolism as it stimulates the digestive organs and activates your core. Because of the twisting action with this asana, the triangle pose can stimulate the organs and improve digestion. Triangle pose actually massages the internal organs and can reduce constipation. When done consistently, triangle pose can heal back pain during and after pregnancy.

In exploring additional benefits of the pose, aside from providing a deep stretch to the arms, shoulders, chest, hips, groin, and legs, it’s a heart opener. Triangle pose can stretch the chest cavity, extend the chest, and expand muscles in the shoulder girdle as it increases space in the mediastinum.

To further understand the benefits of triangle pose, it helps us connect with our inner energy. It opens the heart chakra and allows for better breathing as you stretch the shoulders and arms and open the lungs. With your feet grounded to the earth, the pose expands the chest area so your heart can fluidly open as you work on your inhalations and exhalations.

Another perk of the pose is that it helps to alleviate tight or stiff hip pain and is a gentle spine strengthener. It can also improve balance in the ankles which makes it good for runners. It can also strengthen the obliques, stomach muscles, back and legs.

Tips for Beginners Who Want to Try the Pose

Do you want to know how to do triangle pose modifications? If you want to do a trikonasana pose, a variation of it is an extended triangle pose. With this version, you will execute the same setup as with the traditional triangle pose. However, your stance is a bit wider so you can open your pelvis. Your hands are also going to be placed differently.

Let’s say you’re extending towards your left foot and using your left hand to do so. Simply reach for your foot or put your hand flat on the floor next to you instead of stopping at your ankle or calf.

Precautions with Triangle Pose

Trikonasana comes with a few contraindications. Given that it’s a bending pose, it can exacerbate some medical conditions and has a few precautions to consider before attempting this particular asana. Trikonasana is not recommended for people that have had back surgery or suffer from a back injury, bulging disk or slipped disc. Trikonasana is also not best for those that have hip, knee, ankle, neck or shoulder pain or anyone who has had a recent injury or surgery to these areas.

If a woman is pregnant, she may practice Trikonasana in her first trimester under the instruction of an experienced yogi or yogini. However, she may want to use a block in her second and third trimester as this can help ensure proper breathing and comfort. Trikonasana is not recommended for those that have blood pressure or heart-related conditions. That’s because lateral bending is required with Trikonasana. Students with heart conditions or blood pressure problems may want to consult a physician first and consider a modified form.

Modifications might include Utthita Trikonasana which is an extended triangle block. An alternative is Trikonasana Chair which is a triangle chair.

FAQs

What are the benefits of triangle pose?

The pose can increase the stability in your core muscle groups. It’s also beneficial for reducing back and neck stiffness. It’s helpful in unlocking the hips and shoulders and can give you better mobility. Trikonasana is also essential for improving flexibility, reducing stress and decreasing low back pain, neck pain and anxiety

Who should not do triangles?

Trikonasana is not recommended for anyone that had surgery or an injury in their neck, back, hips, ankles, or shoulders. It’s also not for anyone with a heart condition or blood pressure problems.

Why is the triangle pose named that way?

Triangle pose (Trikonasana) is from the Sanskrit root words trikona (triangle) and asana (posture). It’s called “Triangle Pose” because the body takes this shape when the arms are raised over the head.

Is triangle pose a heart opener?

Yes, it’s much more than a deep arm and shoulder stretch. This pose strengthens the upper body, is a heart opener and it expands the chest cavity. 

What is the difference between triangle pose and extended triangle pose?

Extended triangle pose is similar to the traditional pose. However, you widen the stance a bit more to open up the pelvis. The hands are placed differently as you reach for your foot or you can put your hand flat on the floor.

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