This month, we explore a yoga pose that is very common, and very commonly practiced poorly. You may think you are in proper alignment, as I did for years! Continue reading to uncover subtle tricks that make your Triangle pose delicious for years to come!
- Align the outer edge of your back foot parallel with the back edge of your mat.
- Imagine you are in between two planes of glass. Your hips and shoulders must stack within this narrow space.
- Reach your hips back as you reach your torso forward, stay long through your side waists, and lower your hand to your front leg.
- As you can see from the image below, this alignment causes my right side waist to collapse like an accordion into itself. My hand has no chance of reaching the floor to give me more traction and enhance the stretch in my body, and I'm left feeling like my upper body is awkwardly hanging to one side.
- What you cannot easily see is that the alignment of my hips "between two planes of glass" causes my right femur head to jam into it's socket in my hip. Meanwhile, the stretch through the outer left leg begins to pull on my IT band and rectus femoris in not an "ahh, this feels great" kind of way.
- Diagonal your back foot so that, instead of the outer arch being parallel to the back edge of your mat, your heel is closer to the back mat edge and your toes are pointing toward the front corner of your mat. We can call it a soft 45 degree angle. This automatically gives your front leg femur bone more space into it's socket as the leg lengthens.
- Your hips match the diagonal of your back knee and toes. This gives both legs the space they need to stretch without jamming or over-stretching.
- As you reach your torso toward your front foot, turn your heart skyward. This is the opposite direction of your hips, which shows you that this pose is actually an open twist!
- The diagonal twisting through the lower half of your body gives you the space your torso needs to maintain length through both sides of your ribcage. No more collapsing!
- Check out the difference in the image below. Can you see the difference in my right side waist? And, my hand easily reaches the floor, giving me a great tool to open and release my upper back.
- The amount of strengthening and stretching in both legs now feels balanced.
- *Please note* that if you tend to hyperextend your knees, you must place a micro-bend into at least the front leg. This brings the efforts and release back where it is supposed to be and doesn't collapse into exaggerating your already hyper-mobile leg.
If you align your body with my new cues, and your hand still does not reach the floor, please opt for a prop! You could simply have shorter arms than I do (mine are very long). Using a block underneath your hand gives you the ability to stabilize and increase the therapeutic effects within the upper body without solely relying on the strength in your legs.
If looking upward does not feel good on your neck, simply look to the side or downward. Be kind to your neck, please.
Lastly, be cautious of how your lower hand attains stability. If you opt to press your hand into your shin (as pictured below), then your leg needs to work harder to combat being hyperextended. If needed, it is better to press the back of your hand into the side of your calf, instead.
- Stretches quads, knees, ankles, hamstrings, and pectorals
- Strengthens quads, knees, ankles, foot arches, abs, and neck
- Improves digestion
- Relieves backache, anxiety, flat feet, neck pain, sciatica, and osteoporosis