3 Ways to Modify Triangle Pose for Any Back Condition
See how to adjust yourself in Trikonasana to fit the needs of your back!
Having a back condition can be frustrating if it prevents you from doing the activities you like to do. That includes not being able to practice yoga like you like! Fortunately, there are modifications you can make to certain yoga poses so the pose works with your condition. These simple changes allow you to reap the benefits of the postures without putting you at risk for injury.
Triangle pose is a good example of a yoga pose that will strengthen your legs and core without negatively impacting your back. Try the modifications below!
By Alison West
Chair Trikonasana with Bolsters
This pose is helpful for a variety of back conditions, including cervical or lumbar herniation, lumbar strain, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.
Anyone can enjoy this variation. It is deeply restful and safe, provided you have the range of motion in the hip and back of the front leg. The head is supported so the neck is able to release. The calf is also supported, removing strain from the back of the leg, so you can pay attention to lengthening the spine, rolling the chest open, and moving the outer hip away from the front foot. Because of the support, tension abates in the body and helps relax the central nervous system, which will cause the stress cycle that may accompany pain to abate.
This pose is helpful for a variety of back conditions, including hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis, herniation, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and spondylolisthesis. It is safe for the SI joints.
By reaching up rather than down, the spine remains high, light, and neutral, reducing the chance for injury or reinjury, while still allowing for the essential qualities of Trikonasana. For example, in the case of herniation, side bending—most particularly to the side of the herniation—can put pressure on the site of injury and cause pain.
In addition, This pose frees you from the pressure of touching the floor. The dowel on the block encourages lift and length and avoids the lateral spinal flexion that that often occurs when reaching down with the hand. The dowel also performs double duty by holding the block in place for your foot. This variation prepares you to come further into Trikonasana with a strong understanding of a neutral spine.
This pose is helpful for cervical spine issues, hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis, compression of the lower back, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and spondylolisthesis. It is safe for the SI joints.
This pose addresses the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, and keeps the SI joints very quiet. The external rotation of the supporting hand on the chair allows the neck to be long and quiet while anchoring the shoulder blade on the back. The outstretched arm creates expansion across the upper body. The offset foot position allows for two important actions: The front of the back thigh moves in readily while the outer hip of the front leg is able to release down more easily and create length in the lower back. This is facilitated by the placement of the supporting hand at the original midline of the classical pose, shown by the black belt on the mat.
All images courtesy of Alison West.