Revolved Triangle Pose

What is Revolved Triangle Pose: Brief Introduction

Basics of Revolved Triangle Pose

Revolved Triangle Pose is known as Parivrtta Trikonasana in Sanscript. Parivrtta means revolving, trikona means triangle and asana means pose. This is an intermediate level standing and twisting pose that helps to improve flexibility and balance. It is the first spinal rotation in the Ashtanga Primary Series and is often used as a counterpose to triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana). 

This pose is comprised of three components: a side bend, a twist and balance and it is a great for opening the shoulders, hips, lower back, hamstrings, and spine. Standing twists such as this one can be challenging so it is important to always ensure that the hips, pelvis, back, core, legs and shoulders are properly warmed up before performing them. Alignment is also one of the most important factors for perfecting this pose. 

When performing twisting movements, it is important to note that it requires you to have a good sense of balance, co-ordination, and flexibility. However, if you are not strong in these areas, there are modifications to the pose that can help you get into it more easily and comfortably as you build up to getting into the full posture. Remember, practice makes perfect and never be scared to use props or modifications to help you if you are struggling. Good form is extremely important in yoga practice.

Benefits of Revolved Triangle Pose

  • This pose is both stimulating and invigorating which provides great benefit to the entire spine and nervous system
  • Improves balance, stability, and range of motion
  • Improves digestion by aiding movement in the abdominal organs
  • Relieves mild back pain
  • Stretches and strengthens the legs, feet, and ankles
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles. 
  • Increases flexibility in the shoulders, upper back, and hamstrings
  • Stretches and lengthens the spine
  • Strengthens the hip muscles
  • Reduces stress as it can relieve tension in the lower back which is where some people carry their stress

How to do Revolved Triangle Pose

Step by step instructions to doing Triangle Pose

  1. Start in mountain pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat
  2. Step your left foot back to take your feet approximately 1m apart. Ensure that your feet are parallel; heels in line with each other, toes pointing forwards.
  3. Raise your arms up to shoulder height and actively reach them out to the sides, your palms should be facing down. Make sure to keep your shoulders down away from the ears, lengthen up through the spine and draw the abdominals up and in.
  4. Turn your right foot to 90 degrees so that the toes are pointing towards the short end of the mat, your left foot will turn in slightly, taking it to about 45 degrees. You want to create a strong foundation for the pose.
  5. As you exhale rotate your torso to the right, keeping your arms outstretched. Ensure your hips and shoulders are directly in line with the leading leg and then fold the body forward to 90 degrees; your spine should be parallel to the floor. Ground down through the outer edge and heel of your left foot and look down towards the right foot. This will help with your balance.
  6. Start to hinge forward from the hips, your right arm will reach up towards the ceiling and you will place your left hand on the mat next to your right foot. Keep your gaze towards the floor at this point. Your pelvis should be square to the front leg, and you want to keep the length in your spine.
  7. Firmly push your left hand into the mat then turn your head to look up towards the right hand. We now want to complete the spinal twist; you will rotate up through the left side of the chest while the right side of the chest opens, and you expand through the ribcage. You want to be lifting through the right arm, avoid collapsing in the left shoulder.
  8. Hold this position for five full breaths – focus your mind on the breath and relax into the pose.
  9. To come out of the pose, softly bend your front knee to protect it as you slowly lift the torso back up and turn the upper body towards the front of the mat and turn your feet back to parallel with arms outstretched to the side. From here, you will perform the pose on the left side of the body. 

Common Mistakes

  1. Forcing the twist – there is a tendency for people to force the twist and force themselves too far which in turn compromises their alignment and form. Twisting is challenging and you need to work within your bodies ability and be mindful of your limitations. If you feel any pain in your back, you should stop immediately. In other cases, people may tend to over-twist the neck, this is because it is easier to twist from the neck. You need to focus on twisting from the upper and middle back so as not to strain the neck.
  2. Lifting the back heel – some people battle to keep the back heel grounded which creates an unstable base for the pose and increases the chances of getting injured. It is important to ensure the correct foot position and to ground down through the back foot. If you are struggling it can be helpful to practice the pose near a wall so that you can press you against it.
  3. Not breathing – sometimes we get so caught up in trying to perform the pose and check our alignment that we forget to breathe. To maintain the pose, your muscles need oxygen, so it is important to work on your breathing to ensure a good flow of oxygen through the body. Focusing on the breath also helps to keep you focused.

Beginners’ Tips

This pose is challenging as it requires good balance and flexibility.When first performing this pose, it may be easier to start with a narrower stance. From here break the pose down into two parts. First, work on your base of support for the pose; you want to get the positioning of your legs correct before you start to add in the twist. Once you feel comfortable with this part of the pose, you can start to work on adding the twist. However, be mindful not to lose the length in your spine when you twist. 

Alignment is very important, it can be useful to imagine that you are pressing your head, shoulders, and buttocks against a wall, this will help you visually keep everything in line. 

In the early stages of practicing this pose, you may find you aren’t able to bring your hand down to the mat, or maybe you can but then you don’t have good alignment in the upper body. In this situation, it can be helpful to use a block, put it at a level that you can place your hand on it without losing collapsing in the upper body or hips.

If you happen to feel a little unsteady, it can be helpful to change your gaze. Rather than looking up towards the fingers, you can bring you head and gaze into a more neutral position (same direction as the hips). 

Listen to your body, it is important to learn what your limits are and to work within these. Never force yourself into any position, always take it slow and modify where needed. When first starting out, hold the pose for short increments and slowly build up to holding it for longer.

Cautions

As with any physical activity, it is advisable to have your doctor’s approval before starting your yoga practice, especially if you want to start intensifying your practice. This way you will know if you need to avoid certain poses such as revolved triangle pose. Not all poses are safe for everyone to perform. It is advisable to avoid performing Revolved Triangle Pose if you:

  • Have an ankle injury
  • Have a neck or spine injury
  • Have a shoulder injury
  • Have a headache or migraine
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have recently had surgery on the spine, knee, ankle, shoulder, or hips
  • Are Pregnant
  • Suffer from insomnia
  • Have gastrointestinal distress

Variations

Revolved Triangle Pose is challenging as it is, however if you have mastered this pose and are looking for ways to further challenge yourself, you can start to play around with your hand positioning. Try placing your hand on the outside of your front leg with your forearm pressed against your shin. This way you will be using the forearm as leverage against the shin to deepen the twist.

If you need to make this pose a little less challenging, then make use of block to lift you hand up off the floor. If you don’t have a block, you can bring the hand up higher on the shin. 

Tamsin Springer

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References :


[0]J.Scott. (2000). Ashtanga Yoga: The Definitice Step-by-Step Guide to Dynamic Yoga. Three Rivers Press

[1]A, Pizer. (2020, August 22). How to Do the Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana) in Yoga. Retrieved 08 April 2022, from https://www.verywellfit.com/revolved-triangle-parivrtta-trikonasana-3567111

[2]Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979)]. Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Unwin Paperbacks.