by Barbora Simek
“Triangle pose this is the master posture of the series, perfect marriage between the heart and lungs,” says Bikram in many of his classes.
For many practitioners, triangle remains one of the most challenging poses in the Bikram series. The pose involves strength and flexibility and challenges a practitioners concentration with detailed movements that can make or break proper form in the pose.
What is happening in the pose…
Triangle is an intense hip opener that deeply strengthens the muscles of the legs. This greatly improves the stability of the body through strengthening and aligning the legs and hips. Because of this, the organs in the hip area (colon, kidneys, reproductive organs) benefit as do the associated chackras.
The twist through the upper body in combination with the deep opening of the arms helps to create length in the torso which helps provide adequate room for the organs in the chest to function properly. The combination of the twist and opening of the hips also helps to relieve back pain.
Finally, the deep challenge involved helps to build self-awareness, opening of the heart chackra helps to build authenticity and helps to connect you with the things you love.
Muscles in the neck
Works all of the major muscle groups at the same time
Spine and neck (through spinal twist)
The respiratory system
The cardiovascular system
“When you improve your triangle, you improve your life 360 degrees: sexually, mentally, physically, financially, emotionally.” — Bikram
An excellent cardiovascular workout, with very little movement.
Tones arms, abdomen and thighs.
Builds better overall body alignment through strengthening of the legs.
Intensely stretches each side of the body.
Lengthens the spine, opens the torso and broadens the shoulders which allows proper function of other physiological systems (cardiovascular, digestive etc.)
Reduces saddle bags.
Good for frozen shoulder.
Helps regulate hormone levels.
Helps to build awareness of hunger, helping with eating disorders.
Helps with: constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, spondylitis, menstrual disorders.
Helps to balance adrenal glands and the production of the stress hormone, cotisol.
Opens Heart chackra.
Strengthens base chackra.
Helps to ground the practitioner through turning attention and strengthening the legs.
Builds overall body awareness and self-appreciation.
Builds self-awareness helping to liberate the practitioner from emotional patterns.
Relieves stress and anxiety.
“Triangle is the key posture to bring faith back to the spirit,” — Bikram
Take a BIG step…
Beginners often take too small of a step in Triangle. It would seem that a smaller step would make this pose easier, but truly the 4-5 foot step ensures that the final pose is properly aligned. When proper alignment is reached, a natural dynamic tension will help to suspend the posture.
Allow the hips to open…
In the pose the hips do not face directly forward to the mirror, instead they are slightly angled. The hip of the straight leg should push slightly toward the mirror so that the hips can sink deeper into the pose.
To prevent slipping…
Bikram says you should be able to do this pose on a block of ice, however most of us slip in the beginning. It is important to engage the inner thigh muscles to maintain the pose. Also, try focusing on pushing the outer edge, from the pinky-toe to heel, of your foot into the floor.
About the elbow and touching the toes…
“If I touch my toes, my elbow is not against the knee,” I said to Craig Villani during teacher training. “Point at your elbow,” he replied. I pointed directly at the point part of the joint. Craig pointed out that the elbow is not just the point of the joint but rather the entire area surrounding the point as well. The moral is, that your fingers must touch, don’t worry about perfect elbow alignment.
“Even if the hips are not flexible, you must touch the toes with the hand,” -Bikram.
Head and neck alignment…
The instructions in the dialogue in this pose say to look up to the ceiling, but the movement is more of a turn to the side instead of a look back. Always remember the objective of turning the head is to touch the chin with the shoulder.
Do you have any questions about your triangle pose?