Pose of the Month: Parvritta Trikonasana
It is in this place that we often find ourselves when practicing Revolved Triangle (Parvritta Trikonasana). A pose where we often get tangled up, confused, and lose our direction. It is easy work so intently on our twist that we loose our foundation and tighten into a ball of resistanceand barely able to stay upright. But, if we slow down and approach this asana with awareness, we can use the restrictive nature of this pose as an opportunity to increase our strength, steady our balance and expand with ease toward our greatest height.
Sometimes, what our constriction compels us to do is step back and reevaluate. In revolved triangle pose, we often have to come out of the pose in order to see the potential we have within it to expand and grow. At times, it calls for just the slightest adjustment of our feet or a prop to expand our reach, but in other moments, parvritta trikonasana requires a completely different approach like changing our stance completely or modifying the asana in a way that may not live up to our expectations of what it should be. In these moments, we may have to redefine the way we view the asana completely. These moments of allowing our preconceptions to fall away can be very scary but also very liberating. Once we give ourselves permission to explore our boundaries and move from internal direction instead of external judgment, we may find that the greatest gift this pose has to offer is in the entanglement. For only when we are forced to see ourselves as we really are, do we willingly choose to be all that we can be.
Parvritta trikonasana directs us to find strength in our roots by trusting our internal guide, that source of balance that is always present when we slow down and pay attention, and to open ourselves to our expansive nature, even when we feel constricted inside. So the next time you come to your mat, take a moment to revel in the twisted moments of our lives, for it is in those moments that we can choose to strengthen our balance and rise to our fullest potential.
Revolved Triangle (Parvritta Trikonasana) works to increase the flexibility of the backs of our legs, hips, spine and to improve our sense of balance. There are two ways to do this posture that will give you a very different stretch and therapeutic focus in the body.
The first way is to keep the hips level as you twist, the sacroiliac joints stay even and parallel to the floor. If the hips remain level the twist originates in the mid to low back. By bringing the twist into the thoracic spine, the posture becomes a mid back and shoulder opener. This can be a huge benefit in working with increasing mid and upper back mobility and for opening the chest and shoulders.
You can also come into this posture by unleveling the hips, allowing the front hip to rise. Once the hips become unlevel, the twist is brought into the hips. As the front hip rises, you are bringing the hip into a position of flexion, adduction and internal rotation. This position of the hip elongates the muscles of the outer hip, the Piriformis and Gluteus Maximus. This version of the posture brings a more therapeutic effect to the outer hip and may help decrease outer hip tightness that can lead to back pain.
Both ways of doing this asana are correct, but there would be different reasons to do each. If your focus is on stretching the back of your hip, you would want to allow the twist to start with the pelvis allowing the hips to become unlevel. If your focus is thoracic mobility, then you would want to keep the hips level as you twist. If you have sacroiliac pain or low back pain, it would be better to keep the hips level and allow the twist to come more from the thoracic spine.
This posture is also a great challenge to balance and proprioception. Our brain knows where our body is in space from the sensory receptors in our feet and throughout the muscles of our body. As we twist and turn in the different ways that this posture calls for, we experience a challenge to the input of our body’s position to the brain. This posture can bring about a greater sense of balance and awareness of our position in space that can help us in our daily lives.