Benefits you can Get from Triangle Pose
- Invigorates and energizes the entire body
- Strengthens the legs and feet
- Tones abdominals and surrounding core muscles
- Improves balance and stability
- Increases mental focus and concentration
- Stretches arms and shoulders
- Stimulates blood circulation for Tones digestive organs
In order to do Triangle Pose correctly, follow these steps:
- Start in a wide stance with your feet parallel. You should be facing the long edge of your mat.
- Turn your left foot inward slightly to about 85 degrees.
- Rotate your right foot 90 degrees. The feet will be lined up as if an imaginary line could be drawn from the right heel to the center of the left foot.
- Keep your hips and shoulders facing the long edge of your mat, and your hips directly under your shoulders.
- Bend your right knee, stacking it over your right ankle.
- Bend from the waist to move your torso over your right thigh. Press firmly through your feet and engage your core. Tighten the entire left side of your body to support the pose.
- Shift the hips backwards, pressing the front hip into the back hip.
- Lift your left arm toward the sky and lower your right arm toward the ground.
- Stretch your hands and fingers away from each other as you relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
- Your arms should form a straight line from fingertips to fingertips.
- Turn your head to look up toward the sky.
- Push your right hip into your back hip as you straighten your right leg.
- You should be feeling a stretch through the inner thigh of your front leg and the outer hip of the back leg.
- You may also feel your spine lengthening/opening as a result of the twist.
- Keep your core engaged.
- Lengthen your spine as you continue to press your feet into the ground.
- Bend your front knee as much as necessary to allow you to reach your ankle. Squeeze your legs toward one another to prevent your leg muscles from relaxing. Do not lock out your front knee.
- Repeat on the other side.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make
Arching the back: There is a common tendency to arch the back in Triangle Pose, but this is not a back-bending pose. In order to do it correctly, keep your spine elongated and straight, maintaining a straight line from the shoulders to the hips. This keeps the spine aligned for maximum safety and benefit in the stretch.
Raising the shoulders up toward the ears: It’s a common mistake for beginners to not engage the raised arm. Lower the shoulders away from the ears while lifting the crown of the head to the sky and lift your arm to the extent that your mobility allows. Keep your arm straight, even if you cannot raise it all the way up. It is better to practice keeping your arm straight and engaged for long-term mobility improvement than bending it.
Compressing the neck: Another common mistake is to try to create more stretch by tilting the chin up toward the sky. This compresses the neck and skull, straining the tissues of this area. The correct form is to lengthen and flatten the back of the neck, keeping the chin at a right angle with the neck.
Incorrect alignment of the feet and knees: When first learning Triangle Pose it can be a challenge to get the correct footing. Failing to create the proper foundation can compromise the entire pose, leaving you open for discomfort and possible injury.
The proper alignment is to have the feet positioned so that there is an invisible line moving from the heel of your front foot to the center of the arch of your back foot. The back foot should be perpendicular to the front foot. The front foot should have toes facing forward. Unlike some other poses, Triangle Pose does not maintain a hip’s width distance between the feet.
Collapsing the core: It is important to always keep the core engaged during Triangle Pose. It’s common to collapse the core, leaving the torso unsupported. This puts unnecessary stress on the hips and legs. Keep the core actively engaged, and actively reach the hands away from each other to provide the safest experience of this pose.
Hips shifting backwards: Another mistake that beginners make in Triangle Pose is to shift the hips backwards and the shoulders forward. This keeps you from getting the full stretch in the inner thigh; you’ll also lose some of the strengthening in the core. Instead, make sure the hips are lined up between the feet and the shoulders are lined up with the hips for proper alignment.
Resting the front hand on the front shin: Resting the front hand on the front shin leads to the collapsing of the core. Instead, reach the fingers of each arm away from each other while gently pressing the back of your front hand against the inside of your front shin to encourage more strength and stability.
Putting too much weight on the grounded hand: Similar to what mentioned above, more flexible beginners who are able to reach their lower hand to the ground can end up putting too much weight into that hand.
This also leads to collapsing the core. It’s okay to have your hand on the ground, but don’t put your weight on it. Keep both hands actively reaching away from each other, and your core engaged for the best and safest expression of Triangle Pose.
Rolling the chest toward the ground: Some beginners can roll the shoulders so that the chest is facing the ground in Triangle Pose. This also leads to the collapsing of the core, which limits the strength-building benefits of the pose.
To do this pose correctly, keep your chest facing out toward the long edge of your mat with your front arm reaching down toward the ground, your back arm reaching directly up toward the sky, and turn your head to look at the sky. Your top shoulder should be stacked directly over your bottom shoulder.
Reason for Modification
You should consider a modification if you experience the following:
- Discomfort in the hips, knees, ankles or feet
- Excessive back pain/discomfort or tension
- Discomfort or restriction in the shoulders
- Difficulty maintaining balance
Discomfort in the hips, knees, ankles or feet:
If you have excessively tight ankles or feet, you can adjust the position of your back foot so that it is at a 45-degree angle instead of being fully perpendicular.
For knee injury or excessive knee tension, you can bend the front knee to provide more comfort.
If you have overly tight hips or sciatic pain, try shortening your stance so that your front foot and back foot are closer together.
Alternatively, you can place your front hand on a block or chair, lessening the intensity of the bend.
Excessive back pain, discomfort or tension:
If you feel excessive strain in the back, you can place your front hand on a block or chair, lessening the intensity of the bend. You can also try to minimize the intensity of the bend by leaning your bottom hand against your thigh instead of your shin.
Discomfort or restriction in the shoulders:
If you experience pain or discomfort in your shoulders during this pose, you can simply place your top hand on your waist, or at your side, instead of lifting it toward the sky. Keeping the feet actively engaged against the ground can be extra helpful in this modification.
Difficulty maintaining balance:
If you struggle with keeping yourself balanced in this pose, you can place your front hand on a block or chair for extra stability and support.
Alternatively, you can practice this pose against a wall. Begin by standing with your right side against the wall. Step back with your left foot.
Follow the instructions above to continue building the pose, leaning back against the wall for support.
- What muscles does Triangle Pose work?
- Should I arch my back in Triangle Pose?
- When is Triangle Pose contraindicated?
- If using a block with the grounded hand, should the block be inside or outside of the front foot?
What muscles does Triangle Pose work?
Strengthens the muscles of the hips, legs and feet
Strengthens the arms, shoulders and core
Stretches the shoulders and back
Should I arch my back in Triangle Pose?
No. Triangle Pose is not a back-bending pose. In order to do this pose correctly, keep your spine elongated and straight, maintaining a clean line from the shoulders to the hips. Equally engaging the muscles of the front and back of the body supports the spine for maximum safety and benefit in this pose.
When is Triangle Pose contraindicated?
Acute neck and shoulder injuries
Acute sciatica pain
Vertigo or other impairments to balance
High blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease
If using a block with the grounded hand, should the block be inside or outside of the front foot?
The answer to this question depends on your flexibility level. If you are more flexible, you can place the block against the inside edge of your foot. If you are less flexible, it will be better to place the block against the outside edge of your foot.