Triangje

Triangle Pose provides an intense stretch along the sides of your torso, hips and legs. With regular practice of this pose, you can increase the strength and flexibility of your hips, legs, ankles and feet. This pose also elongates your spine and opens your chest, which can help improve your breathing.

It is important to be aware of the alignment of your body in Triangle Pose. Make sure your head, shoulders and hips are on the same plane. You must also keep your spine in a straight line from your head down to

(trikonasana)

your tailbone. Practicing the pose with your back against a wall can help you find the proper alignment.

As you rest your weight on your back heel in this pose, you should feel stable and grounded through both of your feet. You should also feel comfortable in the pose, with your neck relaxed, your knees soft and your legs stretched, but not strained.

Use caution performing Triangle Pose if you have lower back problems.

Begin in Mountain Pose. For information on Mountain Pose, see page 120.

Step your right foot to the right 3 to 5 feet.

Turn your left foot in 45 degrees and then turn your right foot out 90 degrees.

Inhale as you raise your arms up to shoulder height, with your palms facing down. Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed.

Begin in Mountain Pose. For information on Mountain Pose, see page 120.

Step your right foot to the right 3 to 5 feet.

Turn your left foot in 45 degrees and then turn your right foot out 90 degrees.

• Make sure your right heel is aligned with the middle of your left foot.

Inhale as you raise your arms up to shoulder height, with your palms facing down. Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed.

What should I do if my palm cannot reach the floor?

If your palm cannot reach the floor in this pose, you can place your palm on the ankle, shin or knee of your front leg. You can also position a block on the outside of your front foot and place your palm on the block. Trying to force your palm to the floor may cause your body to become improperly aligned. Achieving correct body alignment is more important than trying to reach down as far as possible.

I have a stiff neck and cannot look up in Triangle Pose. Can I still perform the pose?

You can still perform Triangle Pose, but you should look down at the floor instead of looking up at your raised hand. With a stiff neck, you may also have problems finding a comfortable position for your raised arm. To reduce the strain on your neck, rest the hand of your raised arm on your hip instead of stretching it toward the ceiling.

Shift your hips to the left and extend your upper body to the right.

Exhale as you place the palm of your right hand on the floor outside your right foot.

• If you cannot reach the floor, you can place your palm on your lower leg.

Stretch your left arm up toward the ceiling, with your palm facing forward.

• Make sure you keep your left shoulder back.

Turn your head to look up at your left hand, keeping your spine straight and your neck relaxed.

Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

To come out of the pose, press the soles of your feet into the floor and then inhale as you lift your right palm off the floor. Then return to Mountain Pose.

11 Repeat steps to 1 for your other side.

Chapter 8

Standing balancing poses are great for improving your balance, coordination and concentration. Performing standing balancing poses can also help you develop the ability to remain grounded in all types of poses. Although some standing balancing poses are challenging, they are very rewarding. You should try to incorporate the standing balancing poses in this chapter into your yoga practice.

Standing Balancing Pses

In this Chapter...

Stork Pose Dancer Pose Tree Pose

Standing Hand to Toe Pose Eagle Pose Half Moon Pose

Stork Pose Yoga

You can perform Stork Pose to improve your balance and stability. This pose also helps to open your hips and strengthen your legs, arms and shoulders. If you are feeling distracted or unfocused, you can perform Stork Pose to center and focus your mind.

You may find it easier to balance on one side of your body than the other side. You may also find that on some days it is easier to balance in this pose than on other days. Balancing poses reflect the balancing of your body, mind and spirit, so difficulty balancing in this pose on a particular day may be a reflection of an imbalance elsewhere in your life.

Try coming in and out of the pose a few times to develop your balance. Once you find your balance, you can remain steady in the pose by sinking your weight down through your supporting foot, gazing at a fixed point in front of you and breathing evenly.

As you hold Stork Pose, resist the temptation to lean forward. Instead, focus on keeping your spine straight and lengthened.

Begin in Mountain Pose. For information on Mountain Pose, see page 120.

Bend your right leg and lift your right heel off the floor.

Bring your right knee up until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Your leg should form a 90-degree angle.

• Make sure your lower right leg is perpendicular to the floor and your toes are pointing toward the floor.

Begin in Mountain Pose. For information on Mountain Pose, see page 120.

Shift your weight onto your left leg and foot.

Bend your right leg and lift your right heel off the floor.

Bring your right knee up until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Your leg should form a 90-degree angle.

• Make sure your lower right leg is perpendicular to the floor and your toes are pointing toward the floor.

Press the heel of your left foot into the floor.

What can I do if I have difficulty maintaining my balance?

You can stand beside a wall and place one hand on the wall for support while performing the pose. Once you feel stable, you can remove your hand from the wall.

How can I make Stork Pose more challenging?

Stretch your arms above your head so your upper arms are beside your ears and your palms are facing each other. Make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and down.

What should I do if the hip of my raised leg moves when I bend my knee?

Instead of raising your arms in front of you, you should rest your hands on your hips so that you can feel any movement in your hips. If you feel your hip rise, reduce the bend in your knee slightly. Resting your hands on your hips in this pose can also help improve your balance.

Inhale as you raise your arms to shoulder height in front of you.

• Your arms should be straight, but your elbows should not be locked.

Turn your palms to face each other and stretch out through your fingertips.

Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.

Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze at a fixed point in front of you.

10 Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute and then return to Mountain Pose.

Repeat steps 2 to 0 for your other side.

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