Stiff yoga guide: The Trikonasanas

If you want to consider it this way, business is now about to pick up when it comes to our run through my inspired by stiffness Ashtanga (sort of?) practice.

You can search “stiff yoga guide” and get the past ones (or just click here). As a reminder, the basic gist:

My back-to-basics approach definitely has me feeling and thinking like the beginner I am, or ought to be. As I move through week two, and a few fundamentals continue to guide me, I realize there are some specific adjustments happening in the poses I’m doing that, perhaps, might make the practice more welcoming to stiff, resistant would-be (but probably claim to be “never-be”) Ashtangis.

I was one of those, for many years.

There you have it. And here you have my tweaks (basically distilled from probably a handful of teachers and specifically ordered upon me by Bobbie, who will hate my saying that almost as much as the way I said it [passive tense]):

  • Here’s the biggest highlight: Only in Trikonasana (on both sides) do I not modify these poses and the ones that follow so significantly that I know some of the stricter Ashtanga teaches would really try to “correct me.” (I know because I’ve seen a few do so, though not to me. I know how to hide much better than that.)
  • For me, the key in Trikonasana is to think about being up against a wall. Have you actually tried it that way? I can wait. There, that was probably enough time, unless you had to go into the next room to find enough wall space. It really gives you a sense of alignment, I guess.
  • I’m not reaching for my toes. I’m not sure in any of these poses I’ll ever be reaching for my toes. I’m about mid-calf.
  • Here’s a variation, which I do sometimes, sometimes not: I don’t look at my upper hand. I might stare straight ahead (toward what in our practice room is the opposite wall). I’m trying to make room for my shoulders.
  • With reverse Trikonasana, my lower hand gets a bit below my knee — but I’m careful not to exert a bunch of lateral force on it.
  • My “upper arm” in reverse Trikonasana? It isn’t upper! I wrap is around my waist, as comfortably as possible, in order to emphasize the twist and not get caught up in trying to shove my tight shoulder skyward. Yes! Very bad man. But it also opens up more space in my chest, which helps with breathing. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be difficult to breath in the twisting poses.
  • Oh, and knees straight. Always knees straight!

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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