Over the past three years I have been observing Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) in my body.
To the left you can see the variations and changes over the past three years.
When I applied for Piedmont’s Yoga Teacher Training in May/June 2013 an optional part of the application was to include a picture of myself in Triangle Pose.
Once in the teacher training our long-term anatomy project was to pick three yoga
poses that we were able to do but found challenging.
The top middle photo is the first photo I submitted for my long-term anatomy project.
We took the first set of photos of our three poses and did a write-up on the poses.
Over several months we explored our three poses and learned about our bodies in the poses in terms of alignment and feeling, whether emotional and/or physical.
There is a vast improvement between the first and second pose. I learned to eliminate hyperextension in the front leg without losing strength in the pose. I found a better spot for my head and neck. And I found more extension in my side body.
(If you want to learn more about eliminating hyperextension in the knees in poses liked Extended Triangle, read a blog post I wrote.)
In the top right photo, which was the second photo I submitted for my anatomy project, I worked toward having my hand closer to the floor with the block going down one height. My lengthening in the side body continued to get longer. I wasn’t super jazzed with the placement of my top arm.
My first Triangle Transformation post was written in August 2014 exploring the first three pictures.
My Continuing Triangle Transformation was written in January exploring the first four pictures.
In the bottom left photo, from December 2015, the block went down another height, the lengthening in my side body continues to get longer and more parallel to the mat, my top arm is a nice extension of the bottom arm. My head and neck could be a little more relaxed. (I suspect me taking my own picture this time around didn’t allow for me to get that head where I wanted it as I got into the pose in time for the timer to click away on the camera.)
In the most recent photo the block is gone. The extension in both arms is even and long. The lengthening in my side body is long, but could extend a little more and my chest and upper belly are open, but have room to open a little more. My neck could be less strained.
My hand has made it to the mat. But I can still get it lower, with the palm down. As my hand gets lower I still need to continue the side extension in my body and keeping the chest and upper belly open.
If your hand can get to the floor but you round into the pose or bend the knee or lose lengthening or opening your body is not gaining anything. It’s about length and extension and strength and maybe or maybe not the hand gets to the floor.
Getting my hand all the way to the mat won’t be my end goal of this pose.
My transformation has been phenomenal. But it also takes time. I have been observing this pose in my body for three years. I have made a lot of progress and change. I practice yoga almost every day.
That’s the great thing about yoga. It’s a practice and it continues and changes and evolves over time.