|Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) from Yoga: The Poetry of the Body|
A: When I read your question, I heard my teacher, Donald Moyer, saying, "Squarers beware!" Yes, there definitely has been an evolution in the understanding of the positioning of the back leg in Triangle pose, as well as other related standing poses (Warrior 2, Extended Side Angle) in the Iyengar world. I asked Baxter to elaborate. —Nina
A: As you adjust your feet, turning your right foot out 90 degrees, and kicking your back heel back about an inch or two, your hips will naturally turn a bit toward the front leg. Let this happen! This position keeps the top back of your sacrum wide and relaxed, unlike what happens when you strongly externally rotate your back thigh bone or try to square your hips with the long edge of your mat.
The old school instructions tend to cause narrowing and bunching of the muscles and soft tissues of the left sacroiliac joint, in our present example, which over time I believe can contribute the sacroiliac joint dysfunction and lower back pain. So, again, let your hips rotate a bit to the right. Once you tip your hips and spine out over the right leg, simply firm the inner edge of your back leg (adductors) toward the outer edge of your back leg (ileo-tibial band), and you will have a nice strong feeling in your back leg to assist in grounding of your back foot. Maintain the rightward rotation of your pelvis, even as you rotate your upper belly and chest up toward your top arm. On more occasions than I can count, when I have taught this version of Triangle pose, the old schoolers comment on how much better the pose feels in the pelvis and lower back. See what you think! —Baxter