Triangle Pose Instructions: How to do Trikonasana Yoga Pose

Triangle Pose Instructions: How to do Trikonasana Yoga Pose

how to do triangle pose

About Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose, known as Trikonasana in Sanskrit, is one of our core standing postures in yoga.  In Sanskrit, tri means 3, kona means angle and asana means seat or posture.  Together, Trikonasana trainslates to triangle pose. 

How to Practice Triangle Pose: Trikonasana Instructions

Facing the long edge of your yoga mat, step the feet 3-4 feet apart.  If you feel unsteady, bring the feet a bit closer together.  If you feel like you need some space, take the feet a bit further apart.

Traditionally, we line up heel to heel for triangle pose, but if that feels too narrow for you, you can give yourself a bit of space with the front foot.  

The right thigh comes into external rotation as the right toes point towards the short edge of the mat, opening the right hip.  

The back left toes spin in towards the top left corner of the yoga mat.  

Again, check in with your alignment.  If heel to heel doesn't feel good in this space, you can open it up a bit.

Lift the toes and root down through the big toe mound, pinky toe mound and the heel.  Spread the toes wide and then plant all 10 toes firmly into the mat.  Seal off through the edges of both feet, with special attention going to the outer edge of the back left foot.  As you press the outer edge of the back foot into the mat, you activate through the entire back of the leg, making this the anchor of this posture. 

Imagine that you could lift the quadriceps away from the knees.  Knit the ribs as you lengthen the tailbone down and draw the pubic bone upwards towards the low ribs.  

Lengthen through the crown of the head and roll the shoulder blades back and together on the back, plugging them into their sockets.  Grow tall through both sides of the body and extend both arms out to the sides, like a "T."

Maybe play with flipping the palms up to feel the openness in the chest.  Keep what you have with that openness and then flip the palms face down.  Inhale for length.  As you exhale, begin to reach the right arm straight out as if you're going to grab something off of an imaginary shelf that hangs over the right foot.  Pause there and notice that you still have length on both sides of the body.  Take another inhale.

On the next exhale, begin to hinge at the hips and reach the right hand down to come onto the right shin or ankle.  You may also choose to place the right hand on a block or a chair. 

The left arm extends straight up to the sky as the left shoulder and chest stay rolling open.  Make sure that you aren't collapsing into the pose and that you maintain length through both the right and left side of the body.  There should be a direct line of energy from the bottom right hand up through the left hand.  

Hold here for about 5 breaths.  

History and Meaning of Triangle Pose

Like many yoga asanas, its roots can be traced back to ancient India, where yoga was developed as a holistic system for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Here is a brief history of Triangle Pose in yoga:

Ancient Origins of Triangle Pose:

The practice of yoga dates back thousands of years, with its origins in the ancient Indus Valley civilization, which existed around 3300–1300 BCE. The earliest yogic teachings were transmitted orally from teacher to student and later documented in texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Development of Yoga Postures:

Yoga postures, or asanas, are a relatively recent development in the history of yoga. The classical text "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali," written around 200 CE, focused more on the philosophy and mental aspects of yoga. The physical postures we practice today, including Triangle Pose, became more prominent in later periods.

Hatha Yoga:

The practice of Hatha Yoga, which emphasizes physical postures, began to emerge around the 9th century CE in India. Hatha Yoga introduced a system of purification techniques (shatkarmas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and asanas to prepare the body for meditation and higher states of consciousness.

Trikonasana and its Symbolism:

Trikonasana gets its name from two Sanskrit words: "Tri," which means "three," and "kona," which means "angle" or "corner." In this pose, the body takes the shape of a triangle, with three distinct angles formed by the legs and arms. The symbolism of the triangle can be interpreted in various ways.

  • Unity of Body, Mind, and Spirit: The three angles of the triangle symbolize the integration and harmonization of body, mind, and spirit, a fundamental concept in yoga.

  • Trinity: In Hinduism, the triangle is associated with the concept of the divine trinity, consisting of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). This reflects the idea of balance and equilibrium within the pose.

  • Balance and Stability: The stable, grounded foundation of the triangle represents the physical and mental stability that yoga practitioners seek to cultivate through their practice.

Inclusion in Modern Yoga:

Trikonasana, along with many other traditional yoga poses, was integrated into the modern yoga practices that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This integration was largely influenced by yoga pioneers like Swami Vivekananda and T. Krishnamacharya, who played key roles in introducing yoga to the West and adapting it to contemporary lifestyles.

Variations and Styles:

Over time, different yoga lineages and styles have developed, each with its own approach to Triangle Pose. Variations and modifications of Trikonasana exist, allowing practitioners to adapt the pose to their individual needs and abilities. Some styles, like Iyengar Yoga, focus on precise alignment, while others, like Vinyasa or Power Yoga, incorporate it into flowing sequences.

Benefits of Trikonasana:

Trikonasana offers a wide range of physical and mental benefits. It stretches and strengthens various muscle groups, including the legs, hips, spine, and shoulders. It improves balance, posture, and flexibility while promoting mental concentration and relaxation.

Learn More About Yoga Postures

Triangle Pose, or Trikonasana, is a fundamental yoga posture that has deep roots in the ancient traditions of yoga philosophy and practice. Its symbolism, as well as its physical and mental benefits, make it an integral part of modern yoga. As yoga continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of practitioners worldwide, Trikonasana remains a cornerstone pose that embodies the core principles of balance, unity, and mindfulness found in the practice of yoga.

Join us in our online 200-hour yoga teacher training online to learn more about Triangle Pose and all of your other favorite yoga postures.


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