Trikonasana Top Tips
My absolute top of all the tips for Trikonasana (Triangle) is to (however experienced you are!) try doing it with your back against a wall, sliding your hand down your front leg only as far as you can travel with your back flat against the wall. As soon as your top shoulder tries to pull away you’ve found your edge (for now at least!) - make sure to settle your hand in a position that enables you to maintain that straight back, with shoulder stacked directly above shoulder, whether this is your thigh, shin, foot or floor. If you prefer you can have a block by the edge of your foot to rest on instead.
Other alignment advice includes maintaining a strong, engaged core, so that your resting hand is there to aid balance and stability rather than to hold the weight of the body - imagine a source of energy just above you lifting your top hand - you have to keep lengthening through the spine to keep hold of that energy, and pulling back through the top shoulder and hip (imagine you’re still against that wall) but that energy is lifting you up, preventing you collapsing your weight into your resting hand, and lifting you into an open, easy and lightweight fold position. This energy is still all you - you’re using it from your subtle, Pranic body rather than your physical body here.
Try to keep the legs straight (always maintain a microbend in the knee to avoid overextending the joint), and the heels and shoulders all in a straight line. A gentle push forward through the bottom hip and shoulder can help keep the top hip and shoulder in that line. If you’re pretty stable and grounded here you can take the drishti (gaze) through the top hand, if you’re a little less steady keep your drishti through the lower hand. Keep active through the feet here - you should feel like you’re pushing up and out of the mat, as if you’re pushing the floor away with your feet. You should also maintain engagement through the shoulders, squeezing the shoulder blades down and together, pulling the shoulders away from the ears. And, as always, maintain a strong smooth breath, breathe through the nose and use your breath to keep you focused, to keep the control in your mind over any discomfort in the muscles that might attempt to distract you from your alignment or your stillness.
Trikonasana covers a lot of bases! It’s a hip opener and heart opener, it helps stabilise through the pelvic and shoulder girdles, stretches through the chest, the shoulders, the inner thighs and hamstrings as well as the side body. At the same time it’s strengthening through the legs, the buttocks and the torso - particularly beneficial for those looking to strengthen into some of the deeper core muscles. Trikonasana is a grounding posture, helping you feel more centred and stable - if you dig that kind of thing, it’s helping balance your root chakra (Muladhara), the first of the seven major energy centres in the body, where the art of chakra balancing must begin. It is also balancing through several more chakras, through the sacral, solar plexus, heart and throat (all these benefits make you realise why you see this in class so often?!)
If you’re fairly confident here and want to progress to a balance pose Trikonasana is excellent prep for Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) - all you need to do is slide the lower hand a little ahead of your foot (keep that block if you don’t have the flexibility available to reach the floor) and lift the back foot to hip height (keep the back foot and torso facing over the wide edge of the mat, just as they were in Trikonasana).