Recently I wrote about my Triangle transformation.
Over a year I watched as my Utthita Trikonasana dramatically changed and became healthier for my body.
I talked about how I hyperextend in my knees and I have learned how to stop that in this pose.
Knee hyperextension, which means too much opening at the back of the knee, creates misalignment and bad movement habits that can pave the way for arthritis and more serious knee injuries, according to Yoga Journal.
Also according to Yoga Journal, a joint with such laxity is said to be hypermobile, and the knee is particularly vulnerable to this problem.
Being super flexible isn’t always a good thing for the body. When we are overly flexible in our bodies we need to recognize that and work to not go too deep into a pose and hurt ourselves.
I hyperextend in both my knees and elbows. I am also super flexible in my lower back, which means I have to be extra careful with my backbends and make sure they are coming out of my upper thoracic spine and not my lumbar.
When I wrote the post about my Triangle transformation, one of my friends and GFG! readers told me that she was interested in Triangle. She wanted to know how to back off when hyperextending in that front leg. She also asked for tips in finding extension on both sides of her midsection.
(She also requested, please, note posts like this! I will try to oblige, Kate. Especially since this is now “my job,” and man, does the pay suck! But I love doing it.)
Let’s first address the hyperextension in the knee. Many teachers will tell you to have a slight bend in the knee. That doesn’t work for me because I don’t feel stable in a pose like Triangle with a slight bent knee.
You can put a block under your calf. With the block you create resistance against the calf and against the block. (See the first photo above.)
If you hyperextend, it’s best that your bottom arm not go on your shin. Use a second block. (Like in the second photo above.) The block under your bottom arm also helps with the rotation of the upper belly and chest.
Once you get the feeling of bringing your calf muscle toward the shin the block under your calf can be removed. (See third photo above.)
And bringing the other arm up is something you can work toward. (Fourth photo.) I don’t always bring my top arm up. And I am still working on getting that into proper alignment.
Now about getting extension in both side bodies, especially the lower side body. Let’s say you are in Triangle and your left foot is forward. Take your left hand and slide the the thumb side of your hand into your hip crease. The closest picture sample I could find is where your yoga partner or teacher places their foot in that crease. You get the idea. Tip over that crease and reach down for your block.
Another way to help with the extension is to take the block that your bottom hand will be placed on and reach out to the left (we are still on our left side) and reach that block as far to the side as possible, like you are reaching for someone you love or hell, a million bucks. Then bring your hand/block down. (Pretend like this guy is reaching out with a block and going into Triangle.)
I will continue to work on this pose. I want to continue to work on alignment of my top arm in this pose. Eventually my bottom hand may get lower (lower on the block or possibly to the floor, but that’s a ways away).