Trikonasana (triangle pose)
1. Stand erect with the feet about a metre apart.
2. Turn the right foot to the right side.
3. Stretch the arms sideways and raise them to shoulder level so that they are in one straight line.
4. Bend to the right, taking care not to bring the body forward. Simultaneously bend the right knee slightly. Place the right hand on the right foot, keeping the two arms in line with each other.
5. Turn the left palm forward. Look up at the left hand in the final position.
6. Return to the upright position with the arms in a straight line.
7. Repeat on the opposite side, bending the left knee slightly.
This completes one round. Practice 5 rounds.
1. Repeat the basic form, but instead of keeping the upper arm vertical in the final position, lower it over the ear until it is parallel to the floor with the palm facing down. Try not to bend forward but to keep the body in one vertical plane.
2. Look up at the left hand.
3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.
Note: While holding, maintain normal breathing.
Practice note: When this asana can be performed easily, repeat the practice keeping both legs straight.
Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms. Exhale while bending. Hold the breath for a few seconds in the final position. Inhale while raising the body to the vertical position.
Dynamic practice: Perform the posture rapidly with an increased number of rounds.
Advanced practice: Repeat the procedure as described, but place the right palm flat on the floor on the outside of the left foot. On twisting to the right, the left palm should be placed on the floor outside the right foot. This variation gives a far greater stretch to the leg and back muscles.
Physical - on coordination of movement, balance and the stretch on the side of the trunk in the final position.
Spiritual - on manipura chakra.
Contra-indications: This asana should not be performed by those suffering from back conditions.
Benefits: This series may be performed daily for a few weeks to tone the entire body. It affects the muscles on the sides of the trunk, the waist and the back of the legs. It stimulates the nervous system and alleviates nervous depression. It improves digestion, stimulating the appetite, activating intestinal peristalsis and alleviating constipation. It also strengthens the pelvic area and tones the reproductive organs. Regular practice will help reduce waistline fat.
Duration: 5 to 10 rounds to begin with. Advanced practitioners may increase this number up to 30.
Practice note: In all variations, it is important not to bend forward otherwise the benefits of the sideways stretch to the trunk will be lost. To avoid bending forward, pay particular attention to the position of the hips when bending to the side. For example, when bending to the right side ensure that the left hip stays back and does not move forward. Increasing the distance between the feet gives a more powerful stretch to the rarely used inner thigh muscles and the top of the thighs.