Trikoṇāsana: more twisting = less bending

Writing the first post in a new blog is always a little daunting. Ideally, a first post should be exemplary, so that readers who like it may safely come back expecting more similar posts, and readers who dislike it may not need to come again. In reality, though, starting a new blog is like undertaking a journey towards an unknown destination: it will certainly take me several weeks before I figure out exactly what I want to have in this blog, and how best to present it. Be warned!


During last week’s Monday practice, as we were going through the primary series, I realized something about Trikonasana A and B: the more you twist, the less you have to bend.

After over a year of Ashtanga Yoga practice, I still couldn’t do Trikonasana B (revolved triangle pose). Not only that, but I had even given up on trying, hoping it would happen naturally once I became more flexible. With a typical beginner’s perception, I used to see this pose as “bending + twisting”, and the cumulated sum of these two demanding moves as requiring a degree of flexibility I didn’t yet possess.

That’s my Parsvottanasana (intense side stretch pose). Check out the distance from my shoulder to the ground: how will my hand ever reach low enough, right? Unfortunately, that’s about how deeply I can bend in my hips without bending my spine (see the bend in the picture on the right? that’s wrong).

Now the great thing that happens when you twist your spine, is that the lower shoulder gets lower (ha ha, I am so clever). See my spine? It’s still parallel to the floor. The angle in red is roughly the same it was in Parsvottanasana, I am not bending any more deeply. But thanks to that extra length between my spine and my shoulder, which I use vertically by twisting, my hand can reach the floor! (And I can look like an Egyptian drawing).

But the best part is that… it’s pretty much the same with Trikonasana B! At this stage, my main problem is to find balance when I’m in such a deep twist (hence my palm on the floor, which shortens the distance in green and messes with my hip bend).

Disclaimer: These pictures were taken in my kitchen (as you can probably guess, LOL) with a 10-second self timer. Besides proving my point that “more twisting = less bending”, I did not aim at showing perfect examples of Parsvottanasana or Trikonasana, nor do I claim to haved nailed all the details of either pose.

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