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Turning Point

Once you find your center, you can move in new directions.

By Rachel Brahinsky with Charles Matkin

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Of all the poses in this sequence, it's most challenging to stabilize the pelvis in Parivrtta Trikonasana. It's a pose that requires you to find your stability and stay honest about your limitations while you extend over a fully stretched front hamstring and twist without toppling over. But here's some motivation: When you learn to keep the pelvis even and aligned in this pose, you'll access a profoundly deeper twist in the upper spine.

Instead of aligning your feet heel to heel, Matkin asks that you be a little "spicy" by using a broad stance, keeping the feet directly aligned with the hips.

To get there, stand sideways on your mat with your legs wide and point your right foot to the front of your mat. Turn your left foot in to a 45-degree angle and square your hips. Then step your left foot to the left, so that your feet are wider apart than your hips. "Challenge yourself to find the most benefit, rather than the hardest variation of the pose," Matkin urges.

From here, exhale and draw your legs together isometrically. Inhale as you pull your shoulder blades together and stream your spine forward and down your midline as far as you can go while keeping the spine long. Spend a few breaths finding an even "temperature" through your spine before twisting.

Then, bring the left hand to the outside of the right foot, and bend the right knee just a little bit (this makes the pose easier for those with tight hamstrings and offers a new challenge to advanced yogis). As you lift the right hand to the ceiling, draw the right hip back, spin your chest forward, and arch your upper back. Draw the arm bones into their sockets and lift your chest away from the pelvis, along the axis of your lengthening core.

Keep the pelvis square to the front of the mat and keep the shoulders aligned vertically. If you feel unstable or can't find the twist, either drag the fingers of your left hand against the floor and toward you for a little extra traction, or rest the hand on your shin. You can turn your eyes to the ceiling, but don't crank your neck. "Inchworm" the spine longer and longer with each breath.

Typically, this pose tests one's ability to stay centered. One reason for this, Matkin says, is that this asana works to untie the brahma granthi, the psychic "knot" that yogis say is located in the top of the lumbar area, where the fibers of the diaphragm intermesh with the fibers of the psoas muscle. "This is where you start tugging on your fixed sense of who you are, what you think you can and cannot do," Matkin explains. The trick is to stay true to your center while you twist and turn your spine backward, he says.

Come out of Parivrtta Trikonasana as you exhale. Before doing the other side, first flow into Baddha Trikonasana, keeping the right foot forward.

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Reader Comments


kenny graham?


who is the model? does anyone know?


I love this model's poses. It's so nice to see a male yogi demonstrating so gorgeously. Thank you.

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