I am an absolute sucker for a good stretch. Sadly since moving, I don’t live near a good yoga studio anymore and I’ve fallen out of regular practice. To keep up with my mobility and flexibility, I’ve been doing various exercises at home and one I’ve taken to recently is the triangle pose.
The triangle pose, or Trikonasana, is a fundamental yoga pose that involves standing with the feet wide apart, extending the arms, and reaching toward the toes while keeping the torso and legs in a triangular shape.
It’s best advised you perform a stretch like the triangle pose on a mat for added support, so check out our guide to the best yoga mats if you are on the market for one. The pose is felt in more than one area of the body (one of the reasons I love it) including the hip flexors, groin, hamstrings, spine, shoulders and chest.
If you want to hear how I felt after completing the triangle pose every day for a week and get a rundown on how to try it yourself, keep on reading.
How to do the triangle pose
- Stand with your feet about a leg’s distance apart, facing the long side of your mat.
- Turn your right foot out, toes pointing to the short edge of the mat. Turn your left toes in at a 45-degree angle for stability.
- Engage your legs, particularly rolling out the right thigh to align the right knee with the first two toes.
- Lift your arms parallel to the floor, creating a straight line.
- Inhale, reach to the right, extending your body over your right leg. Shift your hips back.
- Exhale as you bring your right hand down, placing it on the leg, the floor, or a block. Left arm extends straight up.
- Rotate your ribs towards the ceiling, maintaining a lengthened neck. Keep your gaze straight ahead or slightly tuck the chin and look up towards your left hand for a deeper stretch.
- Repeat on the other side.
Or watch the video below for a visual tutorial.
I did the triangle pose every day for one week — here’s my results
Everyone at some point will wish they were more flexible and mobile in daily life. Whether you are a marathon runner prone to tight hips, or you’re just trying to stay mobile as you age, or you’ve picked up a new hobby like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and realize just how important it is to have a good range of motion, the triangle pose is a great stretch to begin with. Here’s why I enjoyed picking up the exercise every day for a week.
It fired up my hamstrings
I am prone to experiencing tightness in my hamstrings after a leg day at the gym, especially when I am using progressive overload in my training. While I agree with the age old saying “no pain, no gain,” I also can agree with myself that I need to stretch my hammies more, or else they become a bit like a car that’s been left in the garage all winter.
When I say I felt a good stretch in my hamstrings while performing the triangle pose, I mean it. It intensified the more I leaned into the stretch and signaled a release of tension built up in the back of my legs. If you try the triangle pose yourself you should feel this too as you lean your torso forward and hinge at the hips, and your spine elongates. This movement intensifies the stretch along the back of the extended leg, specifically targeting the hamstrings. Trust me and just try it.
It hurt my knees a little
I am tall and I am a runner, need I say more as to why I am no stranger to knee pain? I am used to my joints, especially being more sensitive and I did notice the occasional niggle in the knee of the leading leg while performing the triangle pose. This could very well be a result of the runs I completed that week.
However, one study published in the Journal of Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
found that the triangle pose exerts a significant force on the knee and those with knee issues, especially osteoarthritis (OA), should be cautious when practicing this move. The researchers compared the triangle pose to two other popular yoga moves for the study, including the crescent lunge and warrior two.
Despite the triangle pose adding extra load onto the knee, the study also found that this pose is more beneficial because it seems to enhance the range of motion in the hip joints and improves strength and dynamic stability.
It really made me focus
This was an interesting one for me. I enjoy sports like running, hiking and swimming because it takes my mind off things and all I have to think about is that I keep on moving. Completing the triangle pose was quite the opposite. I found that I was totally present in my body and mind as I held the triangle position for 90 seconds on each side of my body.
During the earlier sessions, I felt like I was more focused on what I was having for my dinner. But the more I worked on my form and each time I lowered into the triangle pose, the more I felt present in the movement and felt a real mind-to-body connection.
In a research review paper published in the Brain Plasticity journal, the paper suggests that practicing yoga could influence the connectivity of certain brain regions, the activity of a specific part of the brain involved in cognitive tasks, and the structure of key brain areas. There is more research to be done in this area but I can certainly see how incorporating more moves like the triangle pose into daily life could benefit the brain.
Would I recommend the triangle pose to others?
Yes, I absolutely would. It is a super simple stretching exercise to try at home or add to your yoga flow. If you want to feel a deep stretch run through your hamstrings, hips and spine then you will love investing a minute or so of your time in the triangle pose.
However, as mentioned above it might not be the most comfortable or safest move for someone to try who suffers from knee issues. Check out our yoga for runners piece to find some alternative stretches.