Yoga Pose Breakdown (and Steps to Get Into!) Trikonasana

Renowned teacher Brett Larkin breaks down one of the more common yoga poses, and offers step-by-step instructions to make it work for you.

Are you gearing up for a Wanderlust event this summer? YouTube sensation Brett Larkin has you covered. Here’s what you need to know about one of the most ubiquitous poses in Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes. For tickets and more information about our events, click here. See you on the mat! 
Have you ever heard your yoga teacher say, “Come into Triangle Pose,” and cringed? Does it seem like the pose is simple for everyone else and yet you’re still not entirely sure what you’re supposed to be doing? Like what exactly is supposed to be happening with your feet? And what are you meant to do with the bottom hand? Maybe you even love the pose, but feel like there is some secret you are missing out on? You’re not alone! This pose looks simple, but there is a lot going on in this powerhouse posture and it’s worth mastering.

The Benefits of Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

It’s amazingly therapeutic as it stretches your hamstrings, groins, and hips while strengthening your legs, core, and back. When done correctly, it also engages your whole body and is a half spinal twist, which can aid in digestion and help with vertebral alignment. And if you’re not sure whether or not Triangle Pose is good for you, I suggest you take my quiz for tight hips. But I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel it in the sweet spot once you get everything aligned. So get into your best Triangle Pose and we’ll go through some refinements step-by-step so you can enjoy all the benefits of this posture and feel confident in your next class!

Step 1: Build your foundation

Stand at the top of your mat and take a big step backwards with your left foot so you have a nice wide stance. Keep your right foot facing the top of your mat so your toes point towards 12 o’clock and turn your left foot to a 45 degree angle so your toes point towards 11 o’clock (instead of 9 o’clock or 6 o’clock). If you are feeling unstable, you can explore bringing the feet closer together.

Step 2: Fire up your foundation

Instead of just relaxing into your legs, pull up through the soles of your feet and firm your quadriceps muscles to draw your kneecaps upward. Notice how this creates more strengthening and stretching through the legs and hips while making the pose more stable and uplifting.

Step 3: Create space in your spine and activate your core

Place a block underneath your bottom hand and lengthen through both sides of your waist and torso equally. You want to feel your spine in a long, spacious line instead of collapsing into your side waist and rounding towards the ground. The block helps you elevate your torso so you can twist in the next step and brings a lightness to the pose!

Step 4: Take a twist and energize the pose

Glide your shoulder blades down your back and stack your top shoulder over your bottom shoulder. Then from the strong foundation in your legs, spin your heart towards the sky and enjoy this gentle spinal twist as you lengthen your neck. Reach and expand through all of your limbs and the crown of your head to vitalize your whole body. How did it go? Did these refinements change your experience of triangle pose? If it feels unfamiliar or awkward your first few times, that’s totally normal! Relax and breath as you practice and try these new techniques one step at a time. Focus on the enlivening sensations of your legs strengthening and your spine and waist elongating. And most importantly, have fun and keep practicing to enjoy all this beneficial posture has to offer! woman against white background in Triangle PoseBrett-LarkinBrett Larkin teaches vinyasa flow yoga at top San Francisco studios, companies like Google and Pinterest, and on her YouTube channel, where thousands of students have studied with her for over 6 million minutes. Get her free yoga playlists, yoga teacher training tips, and free dance, yoga, and meditation classes at BrettLarkin.com. Beginner or intermediate yogis can enjoy her online course on deepening your yoga practice.