Monday, September 9, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Triangle Pose

Find extension in Extended-Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasa. Practice triangle pose to confidently ground down through the feet and lift out of the upper arm. Find expansion and create several triangular shapes, by extending the torso long and peeling the chest and heart open towards the sky. Benefits include, release from stress and anxiety, relief from menopausal symptoms and low back pain, and stretching and strengthening the entire body and the core muscles.

To do the posture: Step the feet 3 to 3 ½ feet apart. Turn your right foot forward and keep the back foot grounded. Gaze down at the feet. Adjust the feet to establish front heel to back foot arch alignment.

On the the inhale lift the arms parallel to the earth like wings, in line with the shoulders. Exhale and begin to extend forward, bumping the hips towards the back heel. Make sure the spine is extending straight forward not leaning forward (convex shaping spine), or back (concave shaping spine.) Lock the torso when you can’t reach any further. Inhale to rotate the arms to 12 and 6 o’clock.

Place the hand at the ankle, calf, or outside of the right foot, or grasp for a block placed on the inside or outside of the right ankle for support. You can even use the seat of a chair to stabilize the right hand, if it is nudged up against a wall where the chair won’t shift around. There are many options for modifications. Find what feels best in your body and honor that. Gaze up at the right hand or side-wall, if okay on the neck, or the neck can stay neutral, gazing down at the earth.

To avoid locking out or hyper-extending the front knee joint, find a microbend in the front knee. Continue breathing long and smooth inhales and exhales. Ground down through both feet and simultaneously lift up out of both sides of the torso, feel a lengthening sensation in the upper body. Notice that we don’t want to crunch on one side of the body, we want both sides of the torso to be long. This opposing action allows us to get the most out of the posture, energetically. Scissor the thighs towards one another (energetic movement) and get longer through the torso and out the crown of the head.

Nudge the right hip under and guide the left hip back as if your body could fit between two panes of glass.  Extend the left hip towards the back heel and rotate the left rib cage open towards the sky. Stay in the pose for 3 to 5 full-rounds of breath, one inhale and exhale counts as 1 round.

Benefits of the posture include stretching and strengthening the lower body including the ankles, knees, and thighs. It helps to stretch the muscles in the groins, calves and hamstrings. It promotes extension of the spine and shoulders while stabilizing and strengthening the core muscles. Triangle pose helps to relieve symptoms from menopause and low back pain as well as it helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

Continue breathing with every subtle movement, find comfort and familiarity in the breath. The movements in our yoga practice are subtle and mindful, similar to what benefits us in our day-to-day lives. Yoga helps us to practice living in a non-reactive fashion towards ourselves and others. Keeping the breath smooth, fluid, and flowing in the postures will assist a non-reactive state of being.

The duality of actions in extended-triangle pose, grounding down through the lower body and lifting up out of the torso and upper body, represent many aspects of our lives. Without the darkness we would not have light.  Finding beauty and acceptance in the dark and light aspects of our being will bring us a greater sense of peace and happiness.

Next weeks pose, join me as we will transition from extended-triangle to half-moon pose! Stay tuned for more inspiration, balance, and expression through half-moon pose!

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga is located in Clairemont, San Diego, in the Mount streets. Contact for more info. Go to for class schedule and privates.

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