The Revolved Triangle Pose
by Barbara Benagh
Finding Your Ground
Let’s approach Parivrtta Trikonasana from a variation of Tadasana (Mountain Pose), the simple yet powerful asana from which all other standing poses emerge. Stand with your feet wide apart and parallel with each other. Measure the proper distance between your feet by raising your arms to shoulder height and positioning your feet under your wrist or hands. Then place your hands on your hips. If you feel strain in your legs at this distance, bring your feet a bit closer together.
Now look down at your feet. They may be flat or over-arched, pronated or supinated, plagued by bunions, or have toes that claw the mat. You may not like what you see; still, you are looking at your most direct connection to the earth and the ideal place to start re-establishing a grounded state of being.
The words "grounded" and "rooted" have become commonplace to the point of losing their potency. These important terms should be used with respect. As a yoga teacher, when I say "Root your feet" or "Be grounded in your legs," I am asking you to find the sensation of connection to the earth. Gaining a conscious awareness of this experience may take years to develop; now is as good a time as any to start. Lift your toes. Right away you will feel your feet become livelier and stronger. Now separate them just as you would your fingers; you can even simultaneously spread your fingers to guide you to the right sensation. At the same time, try to widen the ball (metatarsal) joints of your feet.
Even if your toes seem stiff, you will probably see and feel that by lifting them you engage the muscles that support the arches of your feet. That’s progress. In fact, if you have flat feet, that’s pretty exciting progress. Healthy arches are quite important, since they form a dome that, just as in architecture, can support enormous weight. In combination with your toes, which act as shock absorbers and keep you nimble, healthy arches put a bounce in your step that resonates through all your joints. If you do suffer from flat feet or weak ankles, consider regularly practicing this simple and therapeutic exercise of lifting and separating the toes. Standing on tiptoe is another good exercise for strengthening your feet.
While your toes are lifted and separated, plant your weight so that it falls evenly on both feet. Then, on each foot, root your weight equally between the ball joint of the big toe, the ball joint of the little toe, and the center of the heel. Distributing your weight in this way helps support the arch and establishes a broad, balanced link to gravity that influences your whole body. To enhance this connection further, imagine roots growing down your legs, out through each of these six points, and deep into the earth. Lay your toes back down, trying to retain the liveliness in your feet, and continue to ground your feet with each exhalation. You may notice a movement rebounding up through your legs, creating buoyancy and a sense of space within your ankles and knees and continuing up to lift the pelvis and the torso.
• Tones legs and hips
• Strengthens upper back
• Improves spinal flexibility
• Massages organs and regulates their function
• Nourishes spinal discs
• Back muscle spasms
• Herniated discs
• Positional vertigo