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!
Depending upon the way that you practice triangle pose, and for sure there is more than one way to practice it, you may be attempting to laterally tilt your pelvis as you come into the posture in order to keep the top side waist short, the bottom side waist long, and to increase the stretch in the hamstrings. However, if you or your students are turning the pelvis too far to the side it may not be able to laterally tilt very far due to bony compression between the rim of the hip socket and the neck of the femur. In this short video clip, we demonstrate how turning the pelvis toward the front leg before going into the posture allows for significantly more range of motion in the pelvis. Once the pelvis has tilted, you can then place the hand on the leg (or a block or the floor), and use your core abdominal muscles to help rotate the trunk toward the side, allowing the pelvis to follow as much as it might like or need to. Check out the video, experiment and let us know what you think!
Many years ago I was in a workshop with Rodney Yee, and one of the students asked, "Rodney, can you tell me the right way to do trikonasana? It seems that in every class I take the teacher says something different, and I'm no longer sure of the correct way to practice." I was expecting him to lead us into an exploration of the most skillful way to practice, but instead he asked her to show him one way to practice trikonasana and then to tell him the benefits of practicing it that way. And then he asked for another example, and again asked about the benefits of practicing that way. The point he was making was that there isn't a right or wrong way to practice trikonasana or any other pose for that matter... but different choices within each posture would have pros and cons. This was eye opening for me at the time, because I, like most new yoga students, assumed that yoga postures were handed down from the Yoga Gods and that there was a right way to practice them in order to derive the most benefit on a physical and energetic level. However, what he said made total sense and I loved learning a point of view on the subject that seemed so non-dogmatic. In this post, we'll look at the Iyengar and Satchidananda versions of trikonasana and explore the benefits, challenges and considerations of each.