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Flow into Yoga: Triangle Pose

<p>'Triangle Pose' &nbsp;| Submitted</p>

'Triangle Pose'  | Submitted

Triangle Pose or Trikanasana is the midway point in the class and the perfect union of the heart and lungs working together to fuel the body. All the work improves every single bone, muscle, joint, tendon and internal organ, revitalizing nerves, veins and tissues.    

To achieve:

1. Arms over the head.  Step wide out to the right, at least 4 feet.  Move the arms parallel to the floor.  Keep the arms strong, no dangling limbs.  

2. Turn the right foot out 90 degrees and lunge by bending the right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor.  Do not let your right knee cross your toes.  Widen your stance if necessary.  Make sure the right heel is in line with the left heel.

3. Keep the left leg straight and the left foot pushing flat on the floor.  Imagine that the two heels are being pulled together and lift up from the left inner thigh. 

4. Inhale and stretch up out of the hips. This inhale helps to oxygenate the body and bring energy into the posture.  The hip joints are working in opposite directions: the muscles of the right hip are bending at a 90 degree angle, while the muscles of the left hip are remaining at 180 degree angle.

5. Keep the torso facing front.  Roll your left hip forward and down.  Push the hips forward and lean the upper body back. 

6. Arms stay straight as they move like a windmill until the right elbow presses on the inside of the right knee and the right fingertips reach down between the big and second toe.  At the same time the left arm reaches straight up towards the ceiling.  The arms form a straight line perpendicular to the floor, with the palms facing forward.  The more the left arm stretches up, the more the right arm will be able to stretch down so that the two arms are creating the natural human traction that Bikram loves for us to create.  

7. Here the head and upper body twists back and up to the ceiling.  Rest your chin on the left shoulder.  The profile of your face should be parallel to the wall/mirror.

8. Hold.

9. Release by unwinding the arms first and then straightening the right leg. 

10. Repeat on the left side.

You have reached the peak of the mountain in the standing series, with the whole body stretching internally and externally 100%.  Triangle Pose is an intense full body workout.  It strengthens the legs, hips, abdominal muscles and shoulders.  It also improves the flexibility of the hips, spine and shoulders, while slimming the waistline in the process.  The flexing and strengthening of the last five vertebrae in this posture can alleviate crooked spines, as well as, rheumatism and lower back pain.

Lyndsey Hemmesch is an instructor at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge in Burr Ridge.

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