Yoga Pose Gush - Uttitha Trikonasana

Uttitha = extended * Tri =3 * Kona = angle * Asana = posture

It’s always challenging to express how much something means to you, unless I guess you are a poet and then your whole life is expressing things.

I personally do not enjoy poetry at all, so I’m far from being able to do this here.

So let me go with - I fucking love triangle pose!!

All of the asanas continually unfold over time with practice, but this one continually blows your mind!

It has blown my mind on at least 30+ occasions, and I read somewhere in the beginning of my training that you can always learn something new in triangle pose. That stuck with me and has passed the test of my own personal observation.

I teach and practice/teach both traditional ashtanga and modern vinyasa style yoga, which have a few minor differences, and the expression of trikonasana is one of them.

Here’s the vinyasa version

In vinyasa, we use warrior 2 as a common transition point, and therefore the legs are much wider for this triangle. With wider legs, I cannot pull my torso long enough to get down to big toe, so I rest my fingers lightly on the front shin, or one could use a block here for more support. I find the going all the way down to the floor with legs so wide causes space to be lost in the side body and its often too much stretch on the front hamstring.

Then the ashtanga version:

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The beauty of the shorter ashtanga stance with feet a bit closer together is that it’s helpful to find so much more work in the legs. The fingers are able to grab the big toe and really pull up with biceps as the toe and foot resists back to the earth. The action of both mula bandha, the energetic root lock of lifting the pelvic floor, and uddiyana bandha, the upward abdominal lock and drawing the navel in and towards ribs, are both able to be explored here.

I think there is benefit and beauty in both expressions of the pose. Vinyasa trikonasana is more flowy, open, and nice to hold for just a breath or two a few times sprinkled into a creative sequence and great starting point to transition to ardha chandrasana (half moon), whereas the ashtanga trikonasana is so much about strength and stretch at the same time and exploring that balance for 5-10 long ujjayi breaths only one time in the daily practice.

My most helpful triangle pose cues (for either style):

  • Pull waaaay forward to enter, like farther forward than you think you can

  • Lift the knee caps by engaging front thighs as you press strongly into big toe mounds

  • Navel to spine and low ribs in (uddiyana bandha)

  • Literally reach for the sky as you lean slightly back with the torso

  • Roll shoulders away from ears as you gaze up to an active top hand

  • Relax your mouth and breath as you bring your intention to mind

  • Observe what you notice here

Do you love this pose too? Do you have any other cues that have been super helpful for triangle?