Want to hear something weird? I write my posts the day before usually, whenever I get a chance. As I was writing this one yesterday, Emma from The Joy of Yoga posted asking “if you were stuck on a desert island with just one asana, which would it be?”. There must be something psychic in the blogosphere because here’s my answer!
My school orchestra was so up itself that we had a triangle player. Can you believe it?! One poor girl made to sit through hours and hours of rehearsals just so she could go “ping” on a triangle now and again. Our music teacher thought he was conducting the Philharmonic and subsequently, when we were coming up for a big show, would keep us rehearsing until 9pm. If you so much as yawned you got in trouble. I played flute. Once when I complained about being tired he told me to eat a clove of garlic for breakfast. This was back in the days before the wonders of garlic had been publicised and before you could get garlic capsules. At the time we assumed he had completely lost it. Who knew?
The point of all this is my beloved triangle posture. Or Trikonasana to give it its proper name. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know Trikonasana. It’s one of those postures you learn in your first class, one of the fundamental standing posing of Astanga Vinyasa and the first posture whose Sanskrit name I knew with confidence. Trikonasana and I go back a long way.
Now most of you probably know the traditional/classical way of doing Trik (as I affectionately call it). The Astanga way (click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about). But this past week I’ve been having some lower back trouble. The lower back trouble is connected to issues with my right hip and I’m conscious, when it’s giving me pain, to keep my pelvis nice and straight. On these occassions I use the Viniyoga version of Trik, with the feet parrallel and the hips straight.
A good warm up is Swaying Palm Tree. Stand with the legs apart, feet parrallel and clasp the hands above the head. On an exhale bend to the right, inhale centre, exhale left, inhale centre. Repeat a few times on each side.
Viniyoga Trikonasana. Keep the feet parrallel and stretch the arms out at shoulder height, as you exhale reach out and down towards the right leg, stretching the left arm up. Turn to look at the top hand if that feels OK on your neck. Hold for five breaths on each side.
Yes, now, that top arm? That should be straight. My left elbow doesn’t straighten since a bad fall as a child on a school trip to the sewage works. Who takes kids to the sewage works on trips? Really? I guess I was lucky I didn’t fall in the sewage although that could have been a better story.
Finish with Padottanasana.
Give this version of Trik a go. See how it feels. Notice how different the stretch is. Nobody says you have to choose one over the other but some days one might feel better than the other. I actually think this version is more appropriate for a beginner. Although Classical Triknonasana comes up as a posture in most beginner’s classes it can be very hard to get right unless the hips are naturally open. What do you think?