>Yoga is the best. But it’s taken me a couple of years of practice to truly appreciate some of the poses, and to wrap my mind around the benefit of pushing myself to stay in the poses that may not be my favorite, and realize that completing the full sequence is really for my own good.
In class this morning, I found myself loving a pose that’s never really been my favorite: triangle. For a long time I thought I was doing the pose properly, but until a couple of months ago I was doing it all wrong. (Inset picture is Rodney Yee, a great yoga teacher, yoga video producer & writer.)
To find triangle pose, stand with your legs straddled, your feet wide apart: right toes pointed toward the front of your mat, and left toes pointed at an angle, with your heel toward the back of your mat. Lift your arms shoulder-high out to the sides, strong and straight. Lift your left hip, and stretch your right arm to the front of your mat, keeping your back straight (as if a wall is behind you). Once you’ve extended as far as you can, rotate your arms so that your left arm is overhead (fingers pointed to the ceiling), and your right arm is down toward the floor, fingertips grazing the ground. (If you cannot support your upper body this way, you can place your right hand gently on your leg, trying not to put all of your weight on your hand, until you can rely on your upper body strength completely.) This will create a triangle shape with your legs (hence the name of the pose). Try not to put weight on your left hand, and find the strength in your side body to keep your chest lifted. Repeat on the other side.
My favorite yoga studio also encourages students to then stretch their left arm toward the front of the mat, keeping the left hand down toward the floor. When this is done correctly, you will feel the left side of the body lengthening, from your toes to your fingers. It’s quite a great feeling.
Now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing in triangle pose, I do it every day and have grown to love it — even though it is still tough some days. My side body feels longer, stronger, and leaner.