SmartMat Pose of the Week: Triangle Pose
The triangle is a powerful symbol in general, and definitely within the Yoga tradition. A point-up triangle (as shown below on the left) can represent the masculine energy; the fire element; and the ascension of energy to the spirit realm. In contrast, a point-down triangle (as shown below on the right) represents the feminine current of energy; the earth element; and the descent into the physical world.
Add the two triangles together in Yoga, and you get the symbol for the heart chakra, representing the integration that happens when we strike a healthy equilibrium between the masculine and feminine currents of energy in our bodies:
Interestingly, when you understand this symbolic meaning of the triangle in Yoga, you have a much greater appreciation of the power of Triangle Pose, Trikonasana. Done with proper alignment, Triangle Pose can help one embody the experience of skillfully holding the opposites all at once: masculine with feminine; strength with softness; effort with surrender; and contraction with expansion.
But as we’re learning in our Pose of the Week series, great detail must first be given to the foundation of a pose in order for the energy to flow freely. So, today, we’ll dissect a common misalignment that occurs in Triangle Pose in order to support you in creating optimal alignment for your most balanced experience.
Commit your Whole Sole
In Triangle pose, the yogi keeps the legs straight and bends at the hip towards the front foot. Often, when a person leans into the stretch as such, if they aren’t fully engaging the muscular energy in the front leg, the inside edge of the front foot peels off the mat. This causes the weight to unevenly fall into the outer edge of the front foot. It might look like this:
Practicing like this repeatedly can weaken the front ankle joint, and prevent the yogi from feeling a true sense of groundedness, not only physically, but energetically as well. Doing Triangle Pose this way is like using a tugboat to pull a rubber duckie. Sure, you could do it. But it’s really not at all tapping into the full potential of this power source. In order for you to get that magical feeling of equilibrium between the upward and downward flow of energy in your body during Triangle Pose, you need to ground equally through all four corners of both of your feet. In other words, commit your whole sole!
With SmartMat, the practitioner receives a cue at the precise moment when they’ve achieved that perfect distribution of weight in their feet. It will look something more like this:
With proper grounding in place, for those practitioners that might have a collapsed arch, it can help to lift the toes in order to support the muscles of the legs in becoming more active. It might feel a little bit like drinking the energy up the legs through your muscles on the inhale. One then matches this flow upward with an equal and opposite flow of energy extending out (as if through the bones) back into the floor on the exhales. This adjustment would look like this:
In the holding phase of the pose, keep working with this idea of drinking the energy up the legs into the pelvis on the inhales; and exhaling the energy back out through the bones of the legs and feet to re-ground. The result: energetic equilibrium. Integration and balance. Grounded expansion. Stabilized Freedom. Soft Strength.
It’s a true embodied union of opposites, and well, that’s what Yoga’s all about it. So, keep practicing, and watch the magic unfold.