Trikonasana – Triangle Pose helps to open the hips, chest and shoulders. It elongates the spine, giving a wonderful lateral stretch. The muscles of the legs are stretched and toned and the intercostal muscles of the rib cage are developed. This pose gives a nice squeeze to the digestive system and helps to tone the waist. It can also help relieve backache and menstrual cramps.
1. Part the legs nice and wide, about 1.2 m (4 ft) apart. Turn the right foot out to 90 degrees and with the left heel on the floor, turn the left foot in 15 degrees. Make sure the heel on the right foot lines up with the instep on the left. Place the hands on the hips and make sure the hips and shoulders face forward.
2. Inhale. The arms up and over the head, lifting the rib cage.
3. Exhale, bringing the arms down to shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Make sure the shoulders are down. Tighten the thigh so the right quadriceps are lifting the kneecap.
4. Exhale. Push the pelvis to the left while extending the torso to the right as far as you can, bringing the torso over the right leg. Make sure both hips are still facing the front.
5. Take the right hand down the leg as far as you can comfortably reach. The left arm points up towards the ceiling with the palm turned in to face you.
6. Rotate the top shoulder back. Relax into the pose. With each exhalation work the rotation. Feel as though you are extending the entire spine from the sacrum out through the crown of the head.
If comfortable, gently turn the head to look up towards the left palm. If the neck becomes uncomfortable, look towards the floor.
Gaze: Thumb of the raised hand.
In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.