Sunday, June 21, 2015

Strengthen Your Butt With Trikonasana!

Trikonasana is one of the basic standing postures in yoga.

Cultivating good activation in the muscles around the hip of the front thigh will help you move gracefully into some other fun poses that have their foundations in the triangle posture.

In this post I show a fun transition out of trikonasana that will help develop some balance and focus skills.

Watch the video then take a look at the individual positions in the photographs below.

Lifting not sinking
It is hard to tell from watching (which is why I do a lot of demonstration and adjustment in class) but I work strongly in these transitions to cultivate a 'lifting' not sinking feeling out of the standing (front) hip/leg.

There is a strong action of external rotation of the thigh in the front leg.

External rotation of the front thigh in trikonasana is when you sense the inner thigh rolling up towards the sky/ceiling so the kneecap looks more like it is pointing more straight up or even slightly more towards the outer front foot (rather than dropping in over the inner foot).

You should feel a corresponding activation around your side/outer hip/butt area.

This can be easier to sense for many people if you bend the knee slightly, generate the action, then slowly start to straighten the knee.

If you can make sure you cultivate this external rotation in trikonasana then the transition to the balance will be easier.

If you move slowly you will notice there is a slight tendency for the standing leg thigh to want to roll in and the side of your hip move out slightly.  This leads to a feeling of 'dip' in the hip.

As you transition, counter this by bringing your awareness to the outer/side hip and try to either:

  • roll the front thigh out
  • move the front hip more to the centreline of the body
  • push down strongly through the heel of the standing foot (while lengthening and gripping the toes)

The back thigh, throughout, is rolling in.

Start in trikonasana.

Ardha Badha Trikonasana
Go for an arm bind if comfortable.  Mine easily wraps around my back to catch my thigh but yours might just be behind your back.  Don't worry where it goes, it is more important there is no discomfort.

Niralamba Ardha Chandrasana (with arm bind)
Niralamba means unsupported.  In this case it means you do not have hands on ground.

I try to maintain the external rotation in the standing hip as I lean forward.  I press strongly through my heel.  I keep leaning forward until my toes naturally start to grip--a good sign that the balance is coming!  My back leg comes up easily due to the shift of balance.  To get it higher I have to use active movement.

Raise elbow
I bring fingertips to shoulder.  Stay steady!

Raise body
Ok, starting to get tough here!  Raise the body!  This is the trickiest transition in my opinion.  You have to keep absolutely stable in that standing hip.

Release bind and straighten arm
Once you are here it is now relatively easy just to release the arm from the bind and extend it out.

You did it!
As Dora (the explorer) would say: You did it!

Of course, you can always keep that back toe tip down as lightly as possible and do the spinal/arm actions with toe tip just touching.  You still need to maintain that lift out of the hip though.

Have fun practicing.  Try your best but without an attachment to the outcome.  Without strain.  Without stress.

Oh, probably you will feel something deep in your butt after this sequence.  Yeah!  It's working.

I don't recommend learning from the internet.  Come to class if you can!

This is a mini-sequence we will be working with in our current 9 week sequence.  It is such a good training tool I will likely be teaching it in our retreat in Sri Lanka and in Bali as well (

This sequence is part of a Yoga Synergy style sequence taught by Simon Borg Olivier and Bianca Machliss.

Much metta,

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