Parivrtta Trikonasana: Revolve Your Triangle

Pronounced: pah-ree-VUR-tah    tree-koan-AH-suh-nuh

Revolved Triangle

From the Sanskrit roots “tri,” meaning “three,” and “kon,” meaning “angle,” Trikonasana is named for the shape it resembles. While Triangle is one of the more simple poses, Revolved Triangle, its evolution, is deceptively challenging. Rather than a slight variation on the same triangle, everything from the placement of the feet to the rotation of the hip evolves. From a distance, it may seem similar to regular Triangle Pose, but when you look closer, it’s infinitely more complex.

The symbolism of “the three” is vast, but one insight is that the three angles represent the energies of creator, sustainer, and dissolver. In life, something is always coming into being, having its moment to bloom, then fading away, but like the three points on a triangle, what comes first depends on your perspective. If Triangle Pose asks us to be present through all three stages, Revolved Triangle points us toward the next revolution and reminds us that for something new to evolve, something must shed.

To Practice Revolved Triangle:

  1. Stand in Tadasana at the top of your mat.
  2. Step your left foot back at least 3 feet and into a 45-degree angle.  
  3. Step the left foot off the midline to the left bringing your stance to a heel-to-heel alignment or beyond (6 inches or more.)
  4. Press down through the outer edge of the left foot and the base of the big toe of the right foot. Engage the leg muscles and firm the outer hips inward.
  5. With your hands on your hips, elongate your spine and fold forward until your torso is level to the floor.
  6. Place your left fingertips on the inside, or ultimately, on the outside of your right foot. Keeping your hips square or slightly rotated, twist your torso to the right as you reach your right fingertips to the ceiling. Turn your gaze upward to your top fingertips.

Modifications and Variations

Revolved Triangle is a very complex pose. Don’t let your desire for the “perfect pose” overcome your common sense. Some teachers insist on keeping the hips square, but others encourage you to let the hips shift slightly and allow your body to move in a more organic fashion. Additionally, most practitioners will need a block under the bottom hand and while the “final” pose is usually taught with the gaze turned upwards, looking down can help both the neck and the stability of the pose.

Benefits and Contraindications

Revolved Triangle strengthens the inner thighs, core, and shoulders while improving balance and providing mild detoxifying benefits due to the twist. The pose requires quite a bit of strength in the torso, so practice with caution if you have any back or shoulder issues.