Trikonasana

(trik-cone-AHS-anna)

English: (utthita = extended)
trikona = three angle or triangle

 

 

Describe how the posture is performed

 

  1. 1.   Stand in Tadasana
  2. 2.   Exhale stepping or jumping to the side to spread legs apart, with your feet 3-5 foot apart (depending on height/leg length)
  3. 3.   Turn your left foot to 90 degrees
  4. 4.   Turn your right foot to 45 degrees (ensure the heels are intersecting one another
  5. 5.   Stretch your arms out to shoulder height rolling your shoulders back and down.
  6. 6.   Inhale and begin to lean across toward your left foot, bending from the hips with the left arm leading.
  7. 7.   As you beam your torso forward additionally rotate the spine pressing your left hip and shoulder to the front of your body and drawing the right hip and shoulder back.
  8. 8.   Take another breath in and stretch further forward, further rotating your torso
  9. 9.   Now exhale and begin to rotate your torso down and windmill the arms around. Left arm in front of left shin and right arm straight up.

10. Only if it is safe for you to do so you may turn your head (tucking in the chin to protect the neck) to focus on the raised arm as your drishti.

11. Ensure you have your quads turned on, you are squaring your hips (the left hip rotates forward /the right draws back) and also ensure the bandas are switched on and that you tilt your pelvis and sitting bones forward. It is important to evenly distribute ones weight in this posture and not to collapse into the left leg. Keep your torso lifting!

12. The lower arm can be placed at the calf or on the floor however a feeling of being lifted and total body awareness is required and most essential to correctly executing this asana.

13. Repeat on the corresponding side in the same manner for the same duration.

 

 

Iyengar. B.K.S, Light on yoga 2001 page209-210

Iyengar. B.K.S, 2001, Yoga the path to holistic health 2001 page 174-175

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/494

How long should the pose be held and why?Approx. 30 seconds to 1 minute is an adequate amount of time in this pose to reap its benefits. It requires balance and a lot of body awareness to achieve the correct alignment and being a forward bend/inversion it could cause fatigue if practiced too long.

 

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/494How many repetitions should be performed and why?Once for each side of the body are adequate for this pose providing it is held for an adequate amount of time. A second repetition can be useful as the body’s muscle memory may make round 2 easier and this can provide a deeper stretch.Describe necessary preparatory poses for the asana and why it is of benefit.

 It is best to be somewhat warmed prior to commencing this twist to protect the neck and back muscles and also to achieve a deeper twist. Some good preparatory poses would be Ardo Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog) stretches out the necessary muscle groups, Uttanasana (standing forward bend) is a beneficial gentler pose as it also helps to lengthen the back.

Trikonasana also stretches out the sides of the torso and is good in leading up to this pose.

 

Describe necessary counter poses for the asana (if any). Why are these important?

 Gentle warming of the muscles of the back and stretching can assist to better achieve this posture. Uttanasana and Ardo mukha Svanasana for the lengthening of the vertebrae and stretching of the hamstrings. Possibly several rounds of vinyasa flow would be a good warming sequence prior to trikonasana. Forward bends in general with some gentle twists generally are good warming poses prior.

 Describe contraindications and explain why they are contraindicated in the context of the pose.

 Students who are pregnant should generally not practice this pose potentially a block can be used in the early stages of pregnancy.

People with back problems and spinal injuries (mid to lower)  like slipped discs or herniated discs should avoid this posture alternative poses should be used depending on the injury. A block could be used to reduce strain

 

Other contraindications include any digestive issues like diarrhea, acid reflux etc. however Trikonasana can relieve constipation as it stimulates and aids digestive function. Low blood pressure and head ache should avoid this posture as it can cause fatigue and increases blood flow to the upper extremities

 

When practicing Trikonasana one should be careful to tuck the chin in prior to twisting the neck to avoid injury. If on has neck concerns look downward during posture and refrain from turning neck.

 

AYA notes, Lateral Flexion

Iyengar. B.K.S, Light on yoga 2001 page209-210

Iyengar. B.K.S, 2001, Yoga the path to holistic health 2001 page 174-175

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/494Describe how the pose could be taught to a student less able

 

For a beginner or someone with physical ailments the pose can be revised. One can practice the legs closer together or with a broader stance to assist balance. A block can be used to lighten the impact of the pose.

The pose could also be performed keeping the gaze to the floor or with the upper arm stretched out to the side as a variation

 Describe how the pose could be taught to more advanced students

 

Advanced students have heighten their body awareness and

more focus can be applied to the isolating muscle groups around the spine and the rotating of the torso to open the chest and lengthening of the spine. Additionally, the pose could be held for longer or taken deeper into Utthita Trikonasana.

The option of putting the hand to the floor in front or behind the leg are also tangible options.

 

 

Iyengar. B.K.S, 2001, Yoga the path to holistic health 2001 page 174-175What are the major joints working?

Spinal neutral extension with slight rotation. Lateral extension & flexion. Head axial rotation, upper limbs abduction, external rotation. Front leg: hip external rotation, flexion, abduction, knee extension, slight ankle plantarflexion, slight foot pronation. Back leg: hip internal rotation, adduction, extension; knee extension; foot supination

Kaminoff, Leslie, 2007 page 66-67

 

Describe the major muscles involved in the asana and briefly describe how they are working in the pose
Major muscles being strengthened and contracted (YANG) are:  Major muscles being strengthened and contracted are: 

Muscles of the legs:

  • ·1    Hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus & semimembranosus), gracilis, sartorius, popliteus, gastrocnemius, tensor facia latae, plantaris
  • ·2    Hip abductor muscles: gluteus minimus & medius, tensor fascia latae, piraformis, obturator externus.
  • ·3    Hip extensors: gluteus maximus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femorius, adductor magnus
  • ·4    Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis)
  • ·5    Hips: adductor longus, brevis & magnus, pectineus,
  • ·6    Ankle dorsi flexors: tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorium longus, fibularis(perroneus) tertius
  • ·7    Calves: plantaris, gastroncnemius, soleus

 

Abdominals:

  • ·1    Rectus & transverse abdominis
  • ·2    Internal & external obliques

 

Muscles of the arms:

·1    Triceps Brachii(medial, long & laterial head) anconeus
 (anterior)
·1   Elbow flexors: biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, pronator teres

 

Muscles of the neck, chest and shoulders:

  • ·1    Muscles of the upper back & shoulder: deltoid, infrapinatus,
  • ·2    Muscles of the anterior neck: sternocleidomastoid, trapezius and levator scapalae and sternohoid
  • ·3  Muscles of the shoulder external rotators: posterior deltoid, teres minor, supraspinatus, rhomboids major & minor, trapezius scapula, infraspinatus

Muscles of the neck, chest and shoulders:

· Muscles of the anterior chest & shoulder: deltoid, pectoralis major &

minor, internal & external intercostals

· Muscles of the shoulder internal rotators: anterior deltoid, pectoralis

major, latissimus dorsi, subscapularis

· Muscles of the posterior neck: splenis capitus, trapezius and levator

scapulae

 

Muscles of the spine:

· Thoracic spine flexors: rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis,

obliquus internus abdominis

· Lumbar spine flexors: rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis, obliquus internus abdominis, transverse abdominis

· Erector spinae

 

 

 

Major muscles being stretched and lengthened (YIN)are:  Major muscles being stretched and lengthened are:Muscles of the legs:

  • ·1    Hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus & semimembranosus), gracilis, sartorius, popliteus, gastrocnemius, tensor facia latae, plantaris
  • ·2    Hip abductor muscles: gluteus minimus & medius, tensor fascia latae, piraformis, obturator externus.
  • ·3    Hip extensors: gluteus maximus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femorius, adductor magnus
  • ·4    Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis)
  • ·5    Hips: adductor longus, brevis & magnus, pectineus,
  • ·6    Ankle dorsi flexors: tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorium longus, fibularis(perroneus) tertius
  • ·7    Calves: plantaris, gastroncnemius, soleus

 

Abdominals:

  • ·1    Rectus & transverse abdominis
  • ·2    Internal & external obliques

 

Muscles of the arms:

·1    Triceps Brachii(medial, long & laterial head) anconeus
 (anterior)

·1    Elbow flexors: biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, pronator teres

 

Muscles of the neck, chest and shoulders:

  • ·1    Muscles of the upper back & shoulder: deltoid, infrapinatus,
  • ·2    Muscles of the anterior neck: sternocleidomastoid, trapezius and levator scapalae and sternohoid
  • ·3  Muscles of the shoulder external rotators: posterior deltoid, teres minor, supraspinatus, rhomboids major & minor, trapezius scapula, infraspinatus

Muscles of the neck, chest and shoulders:

· Muscles of the anterior chest & shoulder: deltoid, pectoralis major &

minor, internal & external intercostals

· Muscles of the shoulder internal rotators: anterior deltoid, pectoralis

major, latissimus dorsi, subscapularis

· Muscles of the posterior neck: splenis capitus, trapezius and levator

scapulae

 

Muscles of the spine:

· Thoracic spine flexors: rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis,

obliquus internus abdominis

· Lumbar spine flexors: rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis,

obliquus internus abdominis, transverse abdominis

· Erector spinae

 

AYA-Muscular System 1, Neck, shoulders & chest, 2005, p.1-2.

http://www.getbodysmart.com/ap/muscularsystem

Kaminoff, Leslie, 2007 page 66-67

Describe the benefits of the asana
Skeletal This actives the spine keeping it supple and long and can improve the posture. Space is created between the vertebrae and discs in the Spine with this gentle lateral flexion/twisting action. The twist creates space and a rotational release in the thoracic spine. The movement of the spinal cord promotes synovial fluid coating and lubricating the joints.

 

Kaminoff, Leslie, 2007 page 66-67

http://www.getbodysmart.com/ap

Muscular The muscles are stretched and contracted evenly on both sides providing the pose is repeated equally. This allows for great balancing and strengthening of the Abdominal muscles, Latissimus dorsi, rectus abdominus, STM muscle, shoulder muscles and hamstrings. Therefore lengthening, creating space and reducing tightness. This posture encourages supple and long spinal joints, disks, ligaments, and muscles. So many muscles of the back are opened strengthened and lengthen in this pose. The torso needs to be encouraged to lift through the additional use of mula banda and Udiyana bandha, it is therefore is very good for encouraging a healthy posture and core strength.

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/2790

Iyengar. B.K.S, 2001, Yoga the path to holistic health 2001 page 174-175

Lymphatic The lymphatic system is able to drain in this pose. The pressure of the squeeze/soak on the diaphragm is also assisting the movement of lymphatic fluids, as the major lymphatic organs (the spleen & the thymus) are based around the thoracic spine area, behind the diaphragm. The twisting action is beneficial to releasing any toxins from the lymphatic system.

 

AYA notes, Lateral flexion, pages 1-8

Cardiovascular The bending side ways action is very beneficial in creating space for the lateral walls of the heart, we simple do not bend this way very often in our lifestyles these days so it is an excellent antidote. The major blood vessels in the thoracic cavity are well massaged This posture opens the chest creating space in this asana. This assists in improving blood flow. The balancing effect created by lateral flexion in combination with controlled breathing increases Para-sympathetic dominance. Anxiety energetically sits at the heart, so a para-sympathetic state slows the heart rate and helps the person to relax the surrounding muscles of the heart and slow down the heart rate..

 

Dr Raman, Krishna, East west books, Chennai (Madras) 1998A matter of health

Digestion Lateral flexion compress abdominal organs including the liver, digestive system, pancreas and kidneys. The compression bring fresh oxygenated blood to these organs, enhancing their function and helping to move waste through the digestive tract. The opposing stretch and opening that occurs creates space and helps muscles around these organs to relax yet also be toned, overall function is thereby enhanced.

 

Iyengar. B.K.S, 2001, Yoga the path to holistic health 2001 page 174-175

Endocrine Trikonasana stimulates the endocrine system, particularly the abdominal organs. The pancreas is compressed and the gentle twist assists its function in hormone production and digestive enzymes. The ovaries also receive a good “squeeze and soak” through the compression teamed with a gentle twist. The chest is broadened in this pose helping to open up the thymus. Fresh oxygen carrying blood cells are delivered improving overall function to these areas.

The bodies hormones are not depleted in the practice of yoga. The thyroid gland is squeeze when one is looking up and therefore is compressed to allow fresh oxygenated blood to flush through it.

 

 

Dr Raman, Krishna, East west books, Chennai (Madras) 1998A matter of health

AYA notes, Asana Endocrine system, pages 1-8

 

Nervous system Lateral flexion postures are both neutral in both creating heat and cooling simultaneously. They encourage us to harmonize our energies, and combined with breathing they encourage a para-sympathetic state of the nervous system. This can be extremely beneficial for people suffering from depression and anxiety. The central nervous system is stimulated in that the spine vertebrae extend and open up allowing an increase of blood supply to all the tiny nerve endings along the spine.

AYA notes, The nervous system, pages 1-8
Energetic anatomy  Lateral flexion is both heating (yang) and cooling (yin) and therefore can assist in creating balance between the inside and outside worlds as well as male and female energy in the body. The side that is being squeezed is cooling and “yin dominant, the other side is opening and “yang dominant” heating. The middle energy centers/ chakras are mostly impacted being the throat/thyroid, heart/thymus, solar plexus and sacral chakras in trikonasana.

 

The intense squeeze and soak” effect created through the internal organs pressurizing one side and stretching out another can perhaps assist with releasing any emotions sitting within these organs being impacted. For instance the liver (which really benefits from this in the winter “liver season”) could receive some rejuvenation and may release some repressed emotions such as fear, anxiety or insecurity. Things can bubble up to the surface where there it can be consciously processed and perhaps further released. Mental release (letting go) can also be encouraged through the compression of the digestive organs, which may assist with the digesting of experiences.

 

The solar plexus is central in the body and can store a lot of psychic emotional excess. The lateral flexion/twist/compression/stretching of this area could assist in releasing emotions that are no longer serving us. The sacral chakra is may also receive some benefits with its compression through the bandhas and muscle tensioning which can improve function of the sexual organs, assist with related ailments and may help to encourage creative activity.

One Comment

  1. James Holden
    James Holden

    Hi Michael, Love your detail on Trikonasana.
    This type of explanation about yoga asana is what I need. I would like to get in touch.
    Om and prem,
    James Holden

    November 5, 2014 at 3:41 am Reply

Leave a Reply