While there are many ways to practice trikonasana, the usual way of transitioning into it is with the front leg already straight. There's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, if a) your students have relatively flexible hamstrings and b) they have the body awareness and physical ability to laterally tilt their pelvis. However, what often seems to happen is that many students have difficulty laterally tilting their pelvis for one of the above reasons and as a result end up laterally flexing their waist in order to get their hand down to their shin bone or a block. So they end up looking more like the student in Figure A than the student in Figure B.
Part 1 of this 2-part post includes a discussion with images illustrating a unique way of transitioning into trikonasana that makes it easier for some students to finesse the perfect amount of hamstring stretch while maintaining strong lines of energy through the axial body and extremities. Part 2 is a 5-minute video that shows these steps, along with a couple of hands-on assists that accompany them. Enjoy!
Part 1: Discussion
Instead of transitioning into trikonasana with the leg straight, try coming into it from the ground up... first by coming into a lunge, then into a modified parsvakonasana (side-angle), and then into trikonasana, working on alignment within each step before proceeding to the next. This is also a great way to teach trikonasana because it’s easier to get folks into the pocket right from the start, so that you don’t have to spend as much time running around aligning people after they’re already in the pose (which is way more challenging). While the steps outlined below might seem numerous, it doesn’t take long to run through them… and if you sense any impatience in your students just remind them that it’s all about the journey, not the destination. Think of it more like a triangle “process” than like a triangle “pose.” What are you going to do in triangle once you get there anyway?
As you hold the posture...
Part 2: Video
Check out this video that Frances and I made last year
If you practice or teach trikonasana following the step-by-step method above, please share your experience with us below.