Posted by: eveyoga | December 20, 2011

The Meaning of Trikonasana

An avid reader of Yoga Suits Her posts has made this request:

I’d be interested in a series about the poses, particularly the better known ones.  Not about how to do them and not about how to do them better or any details, but what they mean to you, what they seem to represent and how they relate to your life.

So, in the 12 days leading up to 2012, I’m going to look at the meaning, intention and implications of some poses we all do regularly and give them their due.

EveTrikonasana@TheSydneyYogaCentre

Trikonasana jumps out at me. It’s almost as good as adho mukha svanasana, but not as common. It’s a pose to sink your feet like post holes into the ground. It’s a pose to flex your quadriceps.

Trikonasana@TheShed

Here’s a photo of me about 3.5 months after having undergone double hip replacements. Boy, did I ever need to get my new legs working again. No one told me that after I got new hips they would be as flexible as a baby’s joints. They could go this way, they could go that way, and they needed serious training to be strong and supportive.

When my old hips were deteriorating, I had to decrease the distance that I stepped out into trikonasana, and I felt stiff and wonky. With the new hips I gradually could challenge my balance and strength by being wide in the pose, which has given me greater flexibility.

The geometrical form of trikonasana is beautiful to see and the incomparable laterality of the pose is so beneficial to feel in one’s body.
I love teaching trikonasana in classes. I see the beginners hammer at their trikonasanas like a smithies having a go at hot steel, until one day they get the pose organised, and they can let go a little.
I must have done 5,000 trikonasanas; maybe 10,000 over the years, and you’ll see me out there in the Yoga Shed tomorrow doing another.
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Responses

  1. Have you written anything or know of anything written with advice about posture dos and don’ts for people with hip replacements? I’ve had a few students in the last couple of years who’ve had one or both hips replaced and the advice from doctors about what moves can and can’t be made varies maddeningly. So far I wind up helping each student to modify postures according to whatever advice she had but I’d love to have more of my own sense of what’s okay.

    • Hi Leigh,

      I wish I could give you an easy answer. I was the poster girl of the rehabilitation unit post-surgery where I followed the physiotherapists advice and exercises stringently. For the six week “danger period” I bent forward no more than 90 degrees and the hips. I walked every day, increasing my distances gradually. I introduced chest opening yoga poses even in the early post-surgery time – they felt so good and helped my breathing.

      General instructions are to not take the replaced hip across the midline of the body as you would in gomukhasana or garudasana. This could cause dislocation. Also don’t go beyond 40 degrees laterally in Supta Padangusthasana 2. Listen to your body and avoid forward bending where you reach your end of movement and can sense the femur is blocked in the acetabulum.

      There’s quite a lot of information on the Internet that I found helpful, although, as you say, it can be contradictory. Really, when you get right down to it, you do have to work students individually, or better still help them get the sensitivity to understand what is best for them.

      Namaste,
      Eve

  2. WOW I REALLY ENJOY THE EMAIL TODAY ABOUT TRIKONASANA :))
    I FIND IT ONE OF THE MORE COMPLEXS ASANA TO DO.. AND TO ENJOY!
    CAN I ASK YOU…. DID YOU HAVE TO HAVE HIP REPLACEMENTS DUE TO IN THE EARLY DAYS OVER WORKING YR BODY IN YOGA?
    LATELY IN THE BACK OF MY MIND IN EVERY PRACTICE I THINK ABOUT LATER DOWN THE TRACK THE BODY WEARING DOWN!!
    IAM SO AWARE NOW TO PRACTICE WITH NON AHISMA IN MY SHORT TIME OF DOING YOGA OVER THE FEW PAST YEARS.
    THANKYOU FOR YOYR ARTICLE

    LOVE & LIGHT TO YOU….
    NAMASTE BETH

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks for your kind words. As for wearing out the body, of course you’re right in practising ahimsa. You can’t go wrong that way.

      I used to be quite the athlete. I also have tended to be hyperflexive. Put those two together and they can spell trouble. I had a diagnosis of hip arthritis 18 years before I had the surgery. So I did pull myself up, made lifestyle changes and did everything I could to stay healthy and delay the surgeon’s knife.

      I’m so grateful for the miracle of this joint replacement technology. I have my life back, am teaching, and loving my quiet and thoughtful yoga practice.

      Namaste,
      Eve

      • Hi Eve, Thankyou for yr reply….Keep up the great work, I always have a giggle at the articles and have experinced on the mat alot of what you talk about… What a journey Yoga is… it is really the gift that keeps on giving…..Namaste Love & Light to you Beth 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for all the info — I’m copying and pasting and I’ll be referring to it often.


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