Ahhhhhh Triangle Pose. A classic pose included in many standing sequences you will find a yoga class. But for those of us who have tight hamstrings, hips, and shoulders; it can be quite a sticky pose to create and then sustain for any length of time (even if it’s just a few breaths)
So why do we do it and how can it benefit us?
Well first of all if any of the above has resonated with you…PROPS. Props can be super helpful in this pose to be able to find the right angle so to speak, make it more enjoyable, and easeful.
Trikonasana (Trikon = Triangle + Asana = Pose) - is an asymmetrical pose in which the front leg is externally rotated and the back leg is internally rotated. The position of the legs alone strengthens the muscles of the buttocks, front of the thigh or quadriceps and hip flexors, as well as the deep external rotators of the hip. A deep stretch and engagement in the inner thigh (adductors) and back of the thigh (hamstrings) can prevent even the most flexible yogi from being able to reach the ground or shin. Enter yoga block the magic arm extender.
After spraining my ankle earlier this year (my daughter did too), I learned a lot about the importance of having strong outer hips and glutes; not to mention the effects of this on what lies above and below. Our Physical Therapist (Matawan Physical Therapy - AhhhhMAZING) gave me balancing work and lots of band work to strengthen the side seam of my leg. My daughter appreciated the new found strength when skiing and for me brisk walking, running, and well doing balancing work in yoga.
Then comes the upper body, to create Extended Triangle (Uttihta Trikonasana) you must laterally extend and flex the spine - to do this the core stabilizers have to fire up. The quadratus lumborum (QL), transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and both sides of the obliques all work to keep your spine neutral and extended.
Having a strong core is SO important. It helps prevent falls, aids in digestion, and allows one to carry your sleepy child, move boxes, and keep your back in tip top shape. So many people these days have back pain due to a weak core.
Lastly the arms. They are reaching out like wings extending (or abducting) away from the body and are stabilized by the muscles around the shoulders and scapula, the bony wings on your back. The deltoids, lats, trapezius, and serrates anterior must contract to create this action. Strong supple arms and shoulders help keep the neck from taking over and thus overuse.
So Triangle pose helps us to be able to do lots of things. Pick up heavy and awkward objects with more strength in the back and arms. It strengthens the muscles required to move through our daily lives with balance and ease. It shifts our perception of the world quite literally by requiring use to look at it sideways. In a world where everything feels a little sideways, this can be refreshing!
So strick a pose, theres nothing tricky about it.