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How to Do the Reverse Triangle Posture (Parivritta trikonasana Variation) in Yoga

The Sanskrit word parivritta (pronounced pah-ree-vree-tah) means “revolved,” which makes perfect sense with this Yoga posture. You can compare the action of twists, including the reverse triangle, on the discs between the spinal vertebrae (intervertebral discs) to the action of squeezing and then releasing a wet sponge: First you squeeze out the dirty water, and then you sponge up the clean water.

The action of twisting and untwisting increases circulation of fresh blood to these discs and keeps them supple as you grow older. The reverse triangle also stretches the backs of your legs, opens your hips, and strengthens your neck, shoulders, and arms.

  1. Standing in the mountain posture, exhale and step the right foot out to the right about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (or the length of one leg).

  2. As you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of your shoulders (and the floor) so that they form a T with your torso.

  3. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips and then place your right hand on the floor near the inside of your left foot.

  4. Raise your left arm toward the ceiling and look up at your left hand; soften your knees and your arms, and then bend your left knee, or move your right hand away from your left foot (and more directly under your torso), if necessary.

    If you feel neck strain, turn your head toward the floor.

    [Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
    Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham
  5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 three times, and then stay in Step 4 for 6 to 8 breaths.

  6. Repeat the same sequence on the left side.

In the classic version of this posture, the feet are parallel and the legs and arms are straight. The torso is parallel to the floor, and the bottom hand rests lightly outside the opposite side foot.

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