Sunday, 23 August 2015

Tailor your Triangle Pose

I love Triangle pose. It really feels like a good stretch for your legs and side body, encourages deeper breathing and relieves stress.  

The instructions for Triangle are usually:-

With your hands on your hips, step your feet  a leg length apart, outside edges of your feet parallel to the short edges of the mat.  Turn the whole of the right leg to the right so that the knee and foot point the same way and turn the toes of the back foot in 45 degrees. The heel of your front foot should line up with the instep of your back foot. Inhale raise your arms to shoulder height, lift your chest.  Breathe out, hinge from the hips and bring your right hand to your right leg, left arm up towards the ceiling. Gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left thumb, depending on your neck. Do not overreach in order to bring the lower arm further down your leg as this will affect the integrity of the pose, causing the top shoulder to come forward, and the chest to collapse. To release windmill the arms back to shoulder height as you come up, turn your feet to face forward, release your hands to your hips. 
Repeat 2nd side.

This is fine but there is not a 'one size fits all' in yoga and you may have to modify these instructions for your own body. For instance women tend to have wider hips so a better instruction for women might be align the right heel with the left heel.

If you are prone to SI joint problems (been there, and know how painful this can be!!) or tight hips, you may want to have the back foot even further forward of the front foot. I suggest that you come into Triangle in this case in a different way. Start facing the short edge of your mat about half way along the mat. Have your feet hip distance (find your hip points and trace an imaginary line down to place your feet in the right position) and take a good step forward with your right foot. Bring your right hand down to your leg, left arm up taking your left hip back only as far as feels comfortable. When I first started yoga, the advice used to be 'imagine you are between two panes of glass'-maybe not if you have tight hips!

If you have a tendency to hyperextend your knees, you should make sure you are not placing weight on the lower hand and it would be best to microbend your front knee. One way to ensure you are not placing weight on the front leg is to use a block placed behind the front leg (remember your block has three heights). Have your lower hand directly under your shoulder.

Janet x

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