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Refine Your Yoga Practice: 3 Unique Ways to Prop Revolved Triangle Pose
Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) exhibits a high degree of finesse when executed well. It is a seemingly straightforward standing pose, but while practicing it, one’s awareness is utterly consumed by effort and attention to detail. The limbs are fully extended, the torso revolves while the spine lengthens, and balance is constantly tested.
Common pitfalls of this pose include losing balance, deactivating the muscles of the legs, and placing the hand down on the ground to touch the floor and thereby losing the ability to lengthen the torso and twist from the thoracic spine. The following propped versions of Revolved Trikonasana will help you to focus on refining this posture and give you a new perspective on how to practice it.
How to Practice Parivrtta Trikonasana Using a Wall
This propped version concentrates on mobilizing the upper back for the twist in Revolved Triangle and also brings awareness to whether or not the outer hips are activated.
1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your left shoulder touching the wall.
2. Take a large step back with your right foot and turn the right foot slightly to the right. Your feet should hips-width distance apart from left to right.
3. If you find yourself leaning into the wall, without physically moving away from the wall, firm your outer hips into the midline. This will move the flesh of your left hip away from the wall without the right hip swaying out to the side.
4. Stand tall, embodying the elements of Tadasana, then turn your torso to the left and place your hands on the wall about shoulder-width apart or wider.
5. Press your hands into the wall and isometrically pull your hands down the wall as you reach your head away from your hips to lengthen your spine.
6. On an exhalation, isometrically pull your hands to the right as your spine turns to the left.
7. Unwind the twist until your torso faces forward again.
8. Twist again to the left except this time hinge your torso halfway forward and place your hands on the wall.
9. When you fold, again notice what happens to your left hip. Firm your hips to the midline. Repeat the steps above to twist.
10. Once you’ve found your twist, straighten your arms out from your shoulders and press your palms against the wall as you maintain a steady full breath. If you cannot breathe deeply, you’ve twisted too far.
11. Slowly exit the pose and move to the other side.
How to Practice Revolved Triangle Using a Chair
Using a flipped chair offers you the opportunity to lengthen your calves with your foot in the bucket (the underside) of the chair, use the legs of the chair to deepen the twist and experience the pose differently with the front foot elevated higher than the back foot.
1. Flip a folding chair upside down and place it on a mat with the legs facing toward the center of the mat. You can also prop the back of the chair against the wall for extra support.
2. Standing at the wall with your left shoulder touching the wall, face the bucket side of the chair and place your left foot in the center of the bucket.
3. Take a large step back with your right foot and set up the feet the same as above.
4. Bend forward, hinging slightly at your hips, and place your hands on higher chair legs.
5. With your lateral buttocks firm (gluteus medius), press down into the chair legs and lengthen your spine.
6. Use the chair legs to help revolve the spine to the left and take your right hand to the lower left chair leg.
7. Keep your elbows bent as you facilitate the twist.
8. Extend your left arm up toward the ceiling.
9. Unwind your twist, step your left foot off the chair, and practice on the other side.
How to Lengthen The Torso with the Chair in Parivrtta Trikonasana
Often we reach the hand down toward the floor without sufficiently lengthening the sides of the torso. Although some may teach that the hand on the floor is the final pose, I try not to teach “final poses” when it comes to asana practice. That way, this crucial middle part isn’t bypassed for the illusion of touching the floor.
When your hand is higher up, it’s easier to lengthen and revolve your torso. This becomes more apparent in the next propped version of Revolved Triangle.
1.Set up the chair, right-side up, and the seat facing away from you, in the middle of your mat. Stand in Tadasana. You will need to stand close to the chair.
2. Step your right foot back (you can also anchor the right heel into the wall if one is nearby).
3. Press your feet firmly into the floor, contract the muscles of your legs and hips. Cross your right arm toward the chair seat reaching for the left side of the chair. This can be anywhere along the back, seat or possible leg. Try to keep your arm straight.
4. Hook your armpit over the chair back. If the chair rim is too low, try placing a blanket (or a few) over the chair back to build up the height.
5. Move your hips away from the chair as you press your straight, right arm into the chair and turn your torso to the left. Squeeze the chair rim into your underarm.
6. Take your left arm to your hip and roll your shoulder back with your elbow aiming toward the ceiling.
7. Stay here for a few breaths as you actively lengthen both sides of your torso toward the chair while extending your hips away from the chair.
When we work the actions of Revolved Triangle, we are better able to understand how the posture works as a whole. We first find the base in the feet. From there we can strengthen the muscles of the legs. When the hips are firm, the spine can elongate, creating length in the sides of the torso. This length is conducive to better breathing.
When we fix our practice around how a practice should look, it can be difficult to practice any other way. By adding these unique propped versions of Parivrtta Trikonasana to your practice, you may notice how they positively impact your non-propped version of the pose.
Learn more about props in this YogaUOnline article - Think Outside the Block: A Guide to Innovative Yoga Props.
Also from Allison Schleck and YogaUOnline, more yoga practice tips - Deepen Your Backbending: Three Ways to Use a Strap in Ustrasana.
Allison Schleck, E-RYT 500, RPYT is a vinyasa based yoga teacher, fascinated by the intricate relationship between the mind and body. She offers a range of alignment-focused classes touching on anatomy, philosophy and creative propping with a mindful approach. In addition to teaching group classes and managing the Yoga Culture studio in Danbury, CT, she also teaches at Open Door Family Medical Center in Westchester, NY empowering mother's to be with prenatal yoga classes and childbirth education. You can find her @allisonschleck on Instagram and www.allisonrayjeraci.com.