Triangles: the strongest shape

Yoga’s triangle pose is accessible to all levels of practitioners, plus it helps reduce stress and improves digestion.

by Kaileigh Nicols

Ahh, the triangle. What do they say about them again? Oh, yes, they are the strongest shape.

There are so many benefits for doing the triangle pose daily and it is by far one of favourites. Attending one of my yoga classes? We’re probably doing trikonasana. The simplicity and accessibility for a standing yoga posture makes it easy to love. Even those with tight hips or lower backs can find a modification that works for them.

So, grab your mat (or just take off your socks) and follow along with these steps to do as the yogis do.

Yogi Tips

• If you’ve never done this before I suggest using a block or something to rest your bottom hand on for added support, especially if your hips are tight. A chair or stool can work well.

• Never lock into your joints, always maintain a soft bend through the knees and elbows when bearing weight on them. This is a general rule for all yoga postures.

• It does not matter how far you are able to fold. I cannot emphasize this enough – listen to your body, not your ego.

Step by Step

1. Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hip-bone-width apart and parallel to one another).

2. Roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears.

3. Draw your belly button towards the spine and engage through the core.

4. Take a big step back with one of your feet (I like to start with the right, but that’s a personal preference).

5. It’s not a super long stance, typically about three feet between each foot.

6. Align your front and back heel.

7. Slightly pivot your back toes towards the front of the mat (notice my back foot is not parallel to the short edge of my mat). Typically, we say about 45-dgrees inward, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

8. Glue the outside edge of the back foot on the ground, it tends to lift up, especially if your hips are tight. If this is challenging, try shortening your stance (bringing your feet closer to one another).

9. Bring your arms out to a T position, in-line with your shoulders and reach through the fingertips.

10. Open your chest towards the side of the back leg (keeping your feet on their place on the mat).

11. Draw your back hip back (don’t move your feet) and reach the front fingertips forward. This is creating space between your waist and hips, allowing for more movement moving into the next step.

12. Fold the upper body over the front leg while maintaining the openness through the chest and length through the spine.

13. Maintain a straight spine, stop when you notice your spine start to round or bend.

14. Reaching your lower hand towards the block or other support you may be able to reach all the way to the floor, or maybe not.

15. Extend your top fingertips towards the sky.

16. Continue to relax your shoulders away from the ears and engage through the core.

17. Allow your gaze to fall anywhere comfortable. At the front foot, at neutral, or up at the sky.

18. Don’t allow your neck to collapse to maintain the integrity through the spine and extend through the top of your head.

19. Hold here for at least five deep belly breaths, expanding through the low belly, rib cage, chest and collar bone.

To exit the posture:

• Gently gaze down at your front toes.

• Brace and engage the core to lift up, maintaining your arms in a T shape.

• Step to the top of your mat and release the arms.

• Repeat on the other side. Yoga is all about balance, what you do on one side, you must do on the other.

Benefits of this posture include:

• Stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine.

• Stimulates the abdominal organs.

• Helps relieve stress.

• Strengthens ankles and thighs.

• Improves digestion.

• Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause, menstruation and back pain.

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