So now we get to the Triangle Posture which is often known as the Master Posture in the Bikram Yoga Series. This powerful posture works every muscle, joint, organ, tendon, ligament, and major gland of your body! It is towards the end of the Standing Series and everything you have done up to now has prepared you for it.
It’s an “opening” posture – it’s going to open up the chest and of course the hips and other major joints. I always think of it as a “heaven and earth” posture as your top half should be reaching for the stars while from the hips down you should be glued to the floor.
I always believe if you set your posture up before you start you will find a lot more strength and energy available to you and soon it will just feel “right”. So here goes:
How to get the best out of the Triangle
This is a bigggg posture so you need to take a bigggg step to the right – at least 4 feet minimum while your arms raise over your head. Now to balance that bring your arms down parallel to the floor. This will open up the chest and give you more “puff” to hold the posture! The stronger you can hold your arms the better or course and as always fingers and thumbs together and palms are down. The added benefit to this is super toned arms as a result!
Focus in the mirror as this always gives you much more strength and before moving anything else open the hips up by pushing them forward and lean your upper body back (opens the chest). From there turn your right foot all the way to the right. Bikram always used to tell us to turn it “1/2 inch more” to make sure it is exactly parallel to the mirror or wall in front of you. The heels should also be in one line as if you could draw a straight pencil line behind them. These seemingly minute details will assist greatly with your alignment. I’m a bit of a stickler for alignment as a sloppy set up completely messes with the integrity of the posture and is just plain uncomfortable for the student! Once that “muscle memory” is there it will be easier from then on so it is really worth the work at the beginning.
Bending the knee is next (while your spine is straight) and trying to get the leg in that famous “upside down L shape” is the next challenge – again the posture will feel easier quicker if you can give attention to that. The ankle and knee should be in line with each other to prevent any stress on the knee. This is also where you try and keep those pesky hips down as they have a sneaky tendency to try and rise up at this point.
Keeping your hips forward and arms and body back so your chest is open and the spine is straight like a candle down the centre, inhale and as if a broom handle move both arms at the same time. The right hand fingers should be placed between the big toe and second toe – the elbow being a the same level as the knee, taking care not to put any pressure or weight on the toes or the floor. The weight should be on the bent leg instead.
Now it’s time for a bit of star gazing and eventually your chin will touch your shoulder. At one time my chin was way off the shoulder – I could not understand how it would ever get there until one day it just did! Sometimes the shifts can be very sudden so stay open to that possibility even if it seems a long way off today.
Taking a deep breath keep reaching for the moon and rolling the left hip forward push the other knee back with your elbow. This ensures the joints are opening up and the alignment is kept. Touch the toes! The last part is a mini spine twist as you stretch up to the ceiling.
Ditto on the other side……
I know this posture sounds near on impossible but I have seen new students make incredibly fast progress if the set up is correct from the start. Progress is made by “muscle memory” so may as well get that memory happening early on in the piece. It truly amazes me every class and it is so rewarding to see.
Summary of the main points:
- Step wide – at least 4 feet
- Strong arms and open the chest as much as possible
- Hips forward before turning the foot to the side
- Try to keep the heels in one line and the foot turned “1/2 inch more” as detailed above
- Bend the knee and aim for an upside down L shape
- Take care that the knee is in line with the ankle
- Try to move both arms at the same time as if they were a broom handle
- Stretch up, stretch down – fingers between the big toe and second toe and the elbow in line with the knee
- Try to keep the hips open and the bent knee back a little (without strain of course)
- Touch the toes but with no weight on the toes or the floor
- The spine twisting part at the end will ensure you reach for the stars!
The Benefits of Triangle pose
- Works every muscle, organ, tendon, ligament, joint and major gland of the body – wow!
- Strengthens and tones just about everything!
- Opens up the chest
- Great for posture
- Tones the arms
- Of course it works the spine – especially helpful for assisting with crooked spines and lumbago