Inhaling I expand in all directions, exhaling I connect and feel the support of the earth
The weather is warming up here in Toronto! The unmistakable sound of bird songs early in the morning as I roll out my mat, bring me joy and a feeling of connectedness to the change of seasons. This month we work on structure and freedom, and inviting these qualities into the various aspects of our life practice.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) teaches us fundamental principles that help us practice other postures with ease and intelligence. Rod Stryker describes the principle of this asana as action and contraction, experiencing resistance versus freedom. We are looking to establish two triangles: one bordered by the two legs and the floor, the other constructed from the front leg, the underside of the torso, and the bottom arm (resting on shin, foot, or block). When we have secured for our feet a solid, stable foundation that grounds and connects us with the earth, we unfurl ourselves and settle into the pose, eventually gazing up at the top hand and merging with the point of focus.
• Opens the heart and increases sense of wellbeing
• Improves balance and concentration Strengthens muscles of core and postural stability
• Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest
• Stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves
• Lengthens the spine
• Increases mental and physical equilibrium
• Helps improve digestion
• Helps reduce anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica.
Step by Step:
1. Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) with feet together or feet slightly apart. Ground down through the 4 corners of both feet.
2. Exhale, shift your centre over your left foot and step back with your right foot with forefoot turned out to the side. Feet are approximately 3-4 feet apart or to your comfort. Align the right heel with the left arch if possible or with feet hip width apart to increase stability in the pose.Maintain the alignment of the right knee with the 2nd and 3rd toes of your right foot to protect your knee. Activate your right thigh and draw energy up the inner arches of both feet while grounding your big toe mounds.
3. Inhale. Raise your arms up parallel to the floor, palms facing down.
4. Exhale. Spread your shoulder blades wide and activate your core by drawing the inner thighs slightly inwards. Ensure that you do not hyperextend your knees.
5. Inhale. Gaze over your left fingertips and lengthen your spine.
6. Exhale while lengthening your torso over right leg. Bending from the hip joint. Maintain the triangular space in the left side body. Place the right hand on or outside of the shin, ankle or use a block for support. To modify, you can practice this posture with your back against a wall.
7. Inhale. Stretch the left arm up toward the sky, directly above the top of shoulder with the palm facing forward. If possible, turn the head upward and let your eyes gaze at the left thumb. If your nexk feels strained, turn your gaze towards the floor.
8. Breathe deeply. Actively reach forward through the crown of the head while drawing the left hip crease back and heart center upwards towards the sky. Stay in this pose for five or more breath cycles or to your comfortable capacity.
9. Pressing down through the feet, inhale to rise out of the pose. Place palms on your hips or in namaskar mudra and take a step forward toward the front of your mat.
Repeat on the other side.
1, can increase grounding and balance by practicing with back to a wall
2. can increase stability by shortening the stance and placing feet slightly wider apart.
• If you have a challenge with balance, you can use a block or wall for support
• Knee or neck injuries
• Sacroiliac joint instability
Reflection: The balance between structure and freedom
This month we connect deeply to the natural world and manifest the life and routine that we want to be living. We can embody the qualities of depth, adaptability, impregnability, mystery, and longevity. In which aspects of my life can I invite more freedom this month?
In which parts of my life can I create more structure and discipline?
What do I already have in place in my life that contributes to that state of balance?