Triangle, while a simple pose, can be confusing. In part, because each of the best known yoga gurus has their own style.
My preferred triangle is quite different from the Ashtanga, Bikram or Iyengar ways. I imagine the head, spine and hips flat against a wall — or literally, against the wall. Then, I lift my top hand to the ceiling to stretch my shoulders, arm and spine. Almost pretending my top wrist is being suspended from the ceiling, I let the bottom arm hang, wherever it wants. The knee, shin, ankle, it doesn’t matter where it lands. For a slight modification that yields more core strengthening, try the Sivananda style. Sivananda teaches to extend the top arm horizontal, parallel to the floor.
For a strong triangle, the foundation needs to be solid, with feet positioned at right angles to each other. Craig Perkins is the founder of my alma mater, Yandara Institute. He says, “I see many of my students hyperextending their knees in various standing poses, especially triangle pose. When this happens I tell them to remember – thighs back, shins forward. This action creates a little microbend in the knee, something we want to maintain during asana practice.”
Dr. Loren Fishman, who specializes in the health and wellbeing of the spine, studied the benefits of yoga on the bones and posture for many years. In one two-year study, of which triangle pose was part of the Rx, everyone improved bone density significantly, without any negative side affects that bone-density drugs bring. Rather, side effects among the participants were positive: reduced back pain, less anxiety and improvement for those with arthritis. All with just ten minutes of yoga, daily.
Just like with any other new diet or work out plan, consult a yoga therapist to determine what is best suited for your particular physical and emotional wellbeing.