One way to prepare for parivrtta trikonasana (twisting triangle pose) is to do a standing forward bend with one leg forwards and the other back.
Prior to bending forwards, push your hips from side to side. So that you improve control (and awareness) focus on keeping your pelvis facing the front as you move your hips from side to side.
Another exercise is to move your hips backwards and forwards. Moving forwards you front-leg-hip will lift higher than the back-leg-hip. Moving your pelvis backwards the opposite will happen.
Try both of these movements while bent forwards and then while actually twisting.
As you get used to feeling your pelvis, you can then hold it stationary while doing parivrtta trikonasana. You can start with your pelvis level from left to right and square to the front. Then vary its position to change the feel of the pose. You could start with a position that is less intense and then move towards a more intense position.
Another technique is to use the easier position as your starting point and move in and out the more challenging position in sync with your breath.
If using this method, make the movements as smooth as possible (and slow also) so that you breath is slow and smooth.
Parivrtta Trikonasana Body Scanning Check List
While holding the parivrtta trikonasana, you can scan your body as follows:
Front Foot and Leg
- Activate your front foot (roll shin out so that outer edge of foot presses down, then root through base of big toe)
- activate quadricep, make sure knee is straight
- use front leg to push pelvis back
Back Foot and Leg
- activate back foot (as above)
- activate quadricep, keep knee straight
- "suck" inwards on front of front hip to pull pelvis back
- Adjust both legs (but keep their actions) so that pelvis is level from left to right.
- tilt pelvis forwards (lift sitting bones) so that lower back has a "bending backwards" feeling.
Head and Neck
- Lift head enough so that head and ribcage are aligned
- lengthen back of neck so that chest opens
- look to upper hand
Bottom Hand and Arm
- Position hand beneath shoulder
- start with hand inside foot as twist deepens move hand towards foot and then outside of foot
- spread fingers
- adjust hand rotation so arm feels "good"
Top Hand and Arm
- make hand feel alive
- position arm so that front and back of shoulder are open
Body Weight Distributiion, Foundation and Balance
- Adjust upper body so that relative to front foot and bottom hand so that weight is either all on foot, or evenly distributed between foot and hand or all on hand.
- Position pelvis so that front leg is balanced (force acts cleanly along bones of front leg). This may or may not be compatible with point 1.
Spine and Ribcage
- Open ribs (front, sides and back)
- reach ribs away from pelvis
- bottom hand ribs reach down
- top hand ribs reach up
- turn and twist ribcage
Having a body scan list is being a pilot and having a checklist both to make sure that things go right and so that you do everthing possible to save the plane when things go wrong.
For each of the above items you could "scan" your parivrtta trikonasana in time with your breath. So for example,
- inhale and scan your front foot and then exhale,
- inhale check your thigh, exhale,
- Inhale check your back foot and then exhale
Another method, especially when just learning or practicing, is to spend about 3 seconds on each adjustment. Use longer if you need to but do each adjustment and give yourself time to feel the effects, and then move on to the next one.
This can be especially important when setting parivrtta trikonasana up (ready for take-off)
Say for example you start from a standing position.
- Even before bending forwards you can practice adjusting both of your feet and thighs. You can then adjust your hips and then even while standing you can practice lengthening your spine.
- Once you have the feeling of these actions then bend forwards. Place your bottom hand on a block if necessary. Don't even twist yet. Instead focus on adjusting your feet, pelvis and spine while bent forwards.
- And then add the twist and your arm actions.
- Then while you are holding the pose, you can use your breath to ratchet deeper into the pose. Inhale and go deeper. Then exhale and relax while holding the nex position (you may find that you back out slightly, that's fine, try to go deeper each inhale). Work to make both actions slow and smooth. Work to make your breath the same, smoothly inhale and smoothly exhale. Radiate and then relax your awareness with your breath.
Use your awareness to breath life into your pose and then to relax it.
Parivrtta trikonasana, Quick links
- Twisting Poses: Stretching the spine with anchored twisting