Q: In Triangle Pose, what’s more important: getting the triangle shape between your arm and your leg, or putting your fingers between your big and second toe?

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Holly asks

In Triangle Pose, even with my leg at 90 degrees, my hip forward, my arms back and my fingers between my big and second toe, I still see no “triangle shape” between my armpit and my leg – more like a trapezoid. I assume the triangle shape is the priority, given the name of the pose? What’s more important: getting the triangle shape right or putting your fingers between your big and second toe?

Lisa says: Your elbow should be touching the inside of your knee. Often, I see students with their tricep instead of their elbow to the inside of the knee cap. If your elbow sinks too low, you lose the “triangle shape” If your fingertips do not touch your toes then sit your hips down more but don’t bring your elbow down. Try sitting your hips down and stretching up out of your waist.

10 Teacher-tested Tips for a Better Triangle Pose

1. Stretch your arms both up and down. Do not just hang there! Stretch down to the floor and up toward the ceiling in both directions at the same time.

2. Touch the chin exactly to the shoulder. Do not let the neck relax; it is engaged. If you want to look at your posture in the mirror, quickly use your eyes. Otherwise your eyes should be toward the ceiling.

3. Keep the shoulders down. Try and touch your shoulder blades together during the setup to open the chest. Do not let the shoulders rise once the arms have turned. There is a tendency to bring your shoulder to your chin but the chin should move toward the shoulder.

4. Push both your hips forward toward the mirror. Instead of relaxing the hips down or back, make sure you are using your legs to push your hips forward.

5. Touch your lower fingers between the big and the second toe. If you can’t touch the toes, you need to sit down more.

6. When stretching your arm toward the ceiling, keep your torso flat in a straight line. Do not let rib cage stick out.

7. The body weight should be on the bent leg with back foot flat and pronated.

8. Stay positive. This is one of the hardest postures because it requires every muscle in your body to work while trying to maintain the breath. This means attitude is everything – it’s going to hurt like hell, but it will give you a lot of benefits so don’t give up.

9. Keep your hips down, sit down and do not let your hips come up.

10. Breathe. As the dialogue says, “This is a perfect marriage between the heart and the lungs.” Which means better coordination between your heart and lungs.

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