March 25, 2012

Reflections on Triangle Pose ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club.


Utthia Trikonasana

Like many students Utthita Trikonasana is one of my favorite poses to do and to teach. When I first started doing yoga, I thought the intention of this pose was to get down there to be one with my ankle. With my increased yoga education, lots of doing and finally feeling my body in this pose it has become more about the pairs of opposites. Rod mentions that the principle of this asana is “ of action and contraction…experiencing resistance versus freedom.” Again this pose and the comments of this pose are not arbitrarily placed in this part of The Four Desires.

In the last few chapters we have been focusing and learning about our true stability: dharma code, sankalpa and getting to know our vikalpas. These have all strengthened our sense of Self.  Feeling a quality of freedom is now beginning to unfold, by knowing the voice of intuition dhi, acting on that voice and having a level of courage that comes from it. In a way this can be compared to what is happening in the body when we practice trikonasana.

Lets take a rest from our minds and start to become aware of “grounding versus aspiration” in our bodies, by practicing this pose.

Start by facing the longer side of your mat. Find a distance between the legs that is appropriate for your height. I have come to the conclusion that the space between the feet in this and in many poses depends on the lengthen of your legs.

Start by turning your left foot inwards to point towards the midline of the body (about a half way towards your right foot) the right foot will point away from you towards the short end of the mat. The legs need to be grounded in order to support your freedom. Make certain that the knees are not locked and that the hamstrings and quadriceps are embracing your femurs and active. Keeping that stability in the legs, raise the arms parallel to the ground (palms up for a little more shoulder and chest opening).

Utthia means to extend. Extend the torso and spine to the right and the hips move to the left. You can place the lower arm close to the shin and raise the opposite hand up towards the sky in line with the shoulder. If you have any shoulder or neck trouble the top arm can also be placed on the hip. You can look up, straight ahead or down, just keep the neck happy.

I wish I would have paid attention to the meaning of this pose before; it’s not Adho trikonasana or down triangle. There really is no need for me to become one with my ankle. It is to extend and enjoy that openness that this asana offers. I suggest you start to feel the pose and forget about becoming one with your ankle or getting your hand to the ground.

I have mentioned before that when we practice a-symmetrical poses, we are challenged with balancing the body and our instabilities surface. This gives us the opportunity to find equilibrium both internally and externally.

“Increasing the intensity of our relaxation is a vital part of achieving any goal, be it mastery of a particular pose or something in your life you truly aspire to achieve.” Rod Stryke

Have fun on your mat and experiment a little with this pose. How does it makes you feel ? Can you use that freedom to finally relax in the pose? Your going to need it …next week we move on to part V. Freedom From Fear.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?

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