How do you feel about Triangle Pose?
If it's not one of your favourite poses, let's see what we may be able to do about that...
An important angle of any Yoga posture (and life) is always to listen to the cues your body gives you about how to take care of yourself. Opening the lines of communication is one way to build a great relationship between you and your body.
Be sure you have warmed up with something like cat/cow (rounding and arching the spine) and/or gentle side bends.
To begin, set your feet wide apart with the front foot pointed straight out and the back foot angled towards the other. This creates the first triangle shape (with the legs). Best to start from the foundation and continue to check back in there to make adjustments if something higher up doesn't feel great. Trust that your body knows how to find balance and will show you if you are open to listening. If something hurts, make adjustments or come out and do less.
I like to place my hands on my hips and help the pelvis tip sideways towards the front foot. This makes a crease at the front hip while kicking the back hip out. The hand there can press into that hip crease. As this happens, the upper body naturally leans sideways over the front leg. Then, I can lengthen the ribcage away from the pelvis to keep both sides of the waist long. Feel around for the best angle for your pelvis that doesn't pinch in your back.
When the upper body starts leaning over the front leg, more weight ends up there, so we need to purposely press more weight into the back leg and be sure the front knee doesn't cave in. You can imagine that your hips are pressing towards the back foot, while the ribs are stretching over the front leg. Or even imagine that someone is pulling your hips back towards your back foot and someone else is tugging your ribcage towards your front foot. This can help the spine stay long, instead of getting compressed or pinched.
Once all this is set, you can stretch your arms out between floor and ceiling. Just like you don't have to touch the ceiling, you don't have to touch the floor. Especially if it hurts your back or stops you from connecting to your core to support you. Triangle is a great core strengthening pose.
The arms being wide, makes it a chest opener as well. Of course, the top hand does not need to reach up if it hurts the shoulder. The hand can go on the hip instead and the shoulder can be rolled back into the back to keep the chest open. Make sure your shoulders don't climb your neck. You could also place your bottom hand on a block if you want to bring the floor up to you. Make sure to share the weight around more still rather than rely on the hand to do what the back leg could possibly do.
Many Types of Triangles
Your Triangle Pose can look very different from anyone else. Just as you do. Since our bodies are not made of straight lines, Triangle Pose is a challenge to create angles as well as stay in one plane (meaning stacked over the front leg).
You can change many things once you get the angle of your feet and your pelvis set. Have fun playing with variations as they feel good for you. You can also use a wall behind your back to stabilize and get more of the stretch benefit on the side body.
Because it opens up your lines of energy all through the body (as long as you're making sure there are no kinks). You can think of your spine, arms and legs as lines to move energy along (like the way a hose moves water) and check that they all have the optimal space, for you. The spine (central channel) can especially benefit from creating space along it for all the nerves, energy centers and discs to have more room to do what they do best (support you).
Eventually, this pose feels like you have made space to breathe more fully. Make sure you can breathe while practicing. No need to force something natural like the breath.
When we take on traits of the poses we are practicing, this one can connect us to the earth, the sky and everything in between. We are purposely tipping ourselves to the horizon and either looking up to the sky, down to the earth or somewhere in between. Triangle can help us see things from a different angle and experience our body on a different plane. There can be some similarities to the benefits of Cobra Pose with the core connection and supporting the upper body with the lower while also angling them away from each other in an uncommon way.
A triangle can symbolize the threefold nature of the universe: visible, invisible and the human being who contains both. Perhaps, for you, the concept of mind, body, spirt comes up. Triangles often symbolize the fire element, and you can definitely experience the heat it takes to sustain the shape. You must be present in Triangle Pose to gain the benefits without getting burned. This also symbolizes rising energy which is why you may hear me suggest not to make the floor the goal. Instead, practice lifting up and out more (this also helps share the weight between the legs and less pressure on the low back).
I could write so much more about this... let's practice and experience together instead,
PS... I'm happy to offer private sessions to work in more depth or support any injuries. Email me to inquire.