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Pragmatic Pose of the Month: Triangle/Trikonasana

This month’s pose is Trikonasana or Triangle Pose, a wonderfully balanced standing pose. This is one of my personal favorites because it’s a great posture for both stretching and strengthening of the legs, shoulders and torso, And I also really enjoy the many variations and different intensity levels there are to explore with Triangle Pose.

The triangle shape is, and always has been a symbol of transformation and connection. So March is the perfect time to think about how triangles can help remind us of the connection of mind/body/spirit and also help frame our transition out of the winter months into the spring. As we emerge from colder and darker and perhaps lonelier days, we can see that we will soon have warmer, brighter days with more connection to others. Winter has peaked and now we transition down toward summer, transforming our energy, environments and our wardrobes! Ideally, during these times of transition, we strive to stay balanced as we adapt to the next season. I personally need vigorous outdoor exercise, vitamin D supplements and cozy socks and sweaters to thrive during the chilly, dark days of winter. And in the summer time, I need to drink more liquids, get more rest and spend time in/on the water and in the shade in order to keep my energy balanced and avoid summertime anxiety or burnout. The next time you work on trikonasana or triangle pose, after you set the physical foundation, reflect on what it is that helps you thrive at different times of your life. What will you need this spring and summer in order to feel like your best self in body, mind and spirit?

Points of Body Awareness:

*Are your legs strong and rooted?

*Press the ball of the front leg down to avoid hyperextending the knee.

*The activation of the pelvic girdle muscles will result in the front hip slightly rolling outward, the back hip rolling inward.

*Reach out over the front leg before reaching down.

*Consider placing the back hand on the hip as you reach forward. This helps focus the alignment of the pose on the spine, ribcage and shoulder blades as you set up the pose.

*Keep lengthening the spine as you reach down with the front hand.

*Can you feel a sense of mobility in the ribcage as you breathe while holding the posture?

*Open the heart by rolling the top shoulder blade back, in line with the bottom shoulder blade.

*Float the top hand up, keeping the wrist in line with the shoulder. Feel the arms reaching in opposite directions.

*Can you feel the ribcage (on the side of the forward leg) move toward the ground to allow for greater lengthening of the spine?

*Can you feel the lines of energy in the pose? Ground down through the legs, lengthen through the spine and open from the breastbone through the fingertips.

To Modify:

If you can’t reach the ground without curving the spine or if you just want to feel more spacious and open in the pose, place the bottom hand on a block, your front leg or the seat of a chair. If there is any discomfort in the neck, keep the gaze forward or down but be sure to continue lengthening through the neck.