Utthita Trikonasana is triangle pose. It is a pose commonly taught in Iyengar yoga classes right from the first day. From standing in Tadasana (mountain pose), Utthita Trikonasana involves jumping or stepping the feet apart and stretching the arms out to the sides at shoulder height. The feet are turned to very precise angles; the right foot to 90 degrees and the left foot is turned in at about 45 degrees. From this point comes the lateral stretch of the trunk to the right side. The right hand comes down to the shin as the left arm stretches up to the sky. The torso revolves and the gaze is directed up beyond the left hand to the sky.
There are multiple triangles in the pose, although it takes time and effort and a lot of sweat for the lines to be straight and for aesthetic correctness to emerge. Seemingly contradictory forces are at play; the rotation of the right thigh from the inner thigh to the outer thigh to ‘tuck’ the buttock in. At the same time, the right outer calf cuts in and back to create a kind of ‘wrapping action’.
As is so frequently taught in yoga classes I have had to develop an intimate relationship with the pose. But sacro-iliac joint pain has been a part of my life for years. Entering and exiting Trikonasana has frequently highlighted the pain.
During Trikonasana I have therefore felt:
- reluctance to practice to the pose;
- determination to do it and push through the pain;
- pain but the attempt to deny that I felt pain;
- relief to find I could go into the pose from AdhomukhaSvanasana (downward facing dog pose) rather than Tadasanaand not encounter pain;
- guilt for entering the pose through this method in my own practice rather than what I perceived to be the correct method;
- clarity when I was just in the pose, working the legs moreprecisely and without any pain;
- increasingly strong and consistently less pain over time as I have increased my practice of yoga;
- stiffness, discomfort or just ‘sensation’ entering the pose and then a sense of confidence about adjusting the body, perhaps taking a hand to a block for support.