Triangle Pose: Your Path to Stability and Mindfulness

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YogaSol > Hot Yoga > Triangle Pose: Your Path to Stability and Mindfulness
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- Jason H, Old Greenwich

Picture this – you’re standing at the edge of a cliff, arms wide open, with the sun kissing your face. The waves crash below, as the wind whispers secrets to the trees. This is what the triangle yoga pose, or Trikonasana, feels like: a moment of freedom, strength, and deep connection.

Translated from Sanskrit, Trikonasana means “three-angle pose”. It invites us to ground ourselves, root down into the earth, and reach for the sky. An embodiment of steadiness and ease, Trikonasana is like a bridge that connects us to the power within and the world around us.

In Trikonasana, we stand tall and expansive, our bodies forming an imaginary triangle. While it might take a few attempts to feel comfortable in this pose, remember, each try is a triumph. It is about exploration and growth, not just achieving the ‘perfect’ pose.

Like the waves in the ocean, some days might feel more balanced, others less so – and that’s okay. It’s not about how the pose looks, but how it feels. The beauty of yoga, and of Trikonasana, lies not in the destination, but in the journey of self-discovery and continuous growth.

Before diving in, here is what we will cover in this article:

Transformative Power of Bikram Yoga
Performing the Triangle Pose

The Transformative Power of Bikram Yoga

At YogaSol we practice Bikram Yoga, a unique style of hot yoga conceived by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. Bikram Yoga consists of asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises), both practiced in a humid room heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Asanas, or poses, are the physical cornerstone of our Bikram Yoga journey. These 26 Bikram yoga poses act like a symphony, each note bringing a harmonious rhythm to your body. Every asana is taking us deeper into the understanding of our own body, awakening specific muscles, ligaments, and joints, and preparing them for the following pose.

Pranayama, or deep Breathing, is what guides our bodies into the sequence and then gently brings us back, and keeps us feeling grounded when our bodies get tired. 

Combining the physicality of asanas with the spirituality of pranayama in a heated room is the heart of Bikram Yoga. It can be challenging, but it is within this challenge that the beauty of this practice lies. If moments of discouragement arise, remember that they are part of the journey. Notice your thoughts without judgment, just as you would notice the rise and fall of your breath. This act of mindfulness teaches us to sit with our discomfort, just as we sit with our joy.

Performing Triangle Pose: Step By Step

In Bikram Yoga, there are 26 poses that we practice in order. Triangle Pose, or Trikonasa is the ninth pose. This pose is all about balance and connection, reminding us of our intrinsic link between the earth and sky. Here’s a breakdown of how to navigate through this pose when you find the time to step onto your mat:

  1. Find Your Foundation: Start on your mat, standing tall and focusing on your breath. 
  2. Align Your Body: Place your feet apart. Gently turn your right foot to face the top of your mat. Your left foot finds a slight inward angle. Stretch your arms out to your sides, palms facing down.
  3. Lengthen and Lean: Reach your right hand towards the top of your mat, extending your torso over your right leg.
  4. Ground Down: With grace, lower your right hand to find a comfortable resting place on your shin, ankle, or the earth beneath you.
  5. Reach for the Sky: Stretch your left arm up towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders stacked.
  6. Set Your Gaze: Look up at your left hand.
  7. Stay Present: Stay in this pose for a few breaths, enjoying the stretch.
  8. Balance it Out: Repeat on the other side.

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In yoga, we honor the principle of ahimsa, or non-harm. This means respecting your body and its abilities on any given day. Yoga is not about achieving the ‘perfect’ pose but about connecting with yourself and feeling good in your body. Making modifications isn’t a sign of weakness or inability. It’s a sign that you’re listening to your body and respecting where you are in the moment. 

So, we wholeheartedly encourage you to embrace modifications if they serve you better. Let’s look at some of the modifications you can make in the Triangle Pose…

Use a Block: If reaching your hand down to your shin or the floor is challenging, consider using a yoga block. Place the block inside your front foot and rest your hand there. This modification can help maintain the length of your spine and torso.

Adjust Your Gaze: Looking upwards can be challenging for some, particularly if you have neck discomfort. If that’s the case for you, feel free to look straight ahead or down at your front foot instead.

Shorten Your Stance: If maintaining balance is difficult, you can shorten your stance by stepping your feet closer together. This can provide more stability.

Rest Your Arm: If extending your top arm towards the ceiling causes discomfort in your shoulder, you can instead rest your hand on your hip.

Chair Support: For those with balance issues or lower body discomfort, you can practice Triangle Pose while seated on a chair. Sit sideways on the chair with your right hip against the back of the chair, your right foot behind you and your left foot in front. Then bend sideways to the left, resting your left arm on your left knee and reaching your right arm up.

Always listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed. YogaSol instructors are always happy to provide modifications and guidance to ensure you’re practicing safely and effectively.

Mind-Body Benefits of Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose has many benefits for your mind and body. Physically, it stretches your hamstrings, hips, and groin, while strengthening your legs, knees, ankles, abdominals, obliques and back muscles. The pose helps with balance and stability, on and off the mat. 

Triangle Pose compresses the abdomen, and may even help with digestion. It opens your chest, allowing for deep, healing breaths. The focus on mindful breath and delicate stretching provides a peaceful space for your mind to unwind, and relieve stress.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to feel uncomfortable because of the heat during yoga?

Yes, it is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable due to the heat during yoga. Feelings of discomfort are part of this transformative process. When these thoughts arise, acknowledge them and then take a moment to reconnect with your breath. Sit with these uncomfortable feelings, rather than avoiding them. With this practice, we can develop a deeper sense of self-awareness, and train our minds to stay calm when challenges arise. However, if you need to step out or take a break, you are encouraged to do so. 

I worry about not having the right yoga gear.

We often feel we need to have the ‘right’ gear or clothing to fit in or perform well. However, the beauty of yoga is that it welcomes us just as we are.

What you need to start yoga is pretty minimal. Come to class wearing a comfortable outfit that allows you to move freely. Choose clothes that are breathable and wick away sweat, especially for Bikram yoga, as the room is heated. Wear what makes you comfortable and doesn’t distract you from your practice.

I’m concerned I might not be able to stay present and mindful

Being present and mindful during yoga, or in any situation really, can feel challenging. It’s completely normal for your mind to wander during practice. It’s normal to have days where your mind is everywhere but in the present moment, when you notice your thoughts drifting to other things, practice gently guiding your attention back to the present moment. Focus your attention on your breath, and remember that it’s okay to have days where it’s hard to stay present.

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