Revolved Triangle or Parivrtta Trikonasana

Revolved Triangle - Parivrtta Trikonasana
Ann Pizer

When we reach an enlightened state, all yoga poses will be the same to us. We'll neither like them nor dislike them, just accept them calmly for what they are. Until we get to samadhi, however, it's hard to ignore the visceral reaction that some poses illicit. Revolved triangle (parivrtta trikonasana) has got to be one of yoga's least popular poses. Its combination of deep twisting, hamstring stretching, heart opening, and precarious balance push a lot of people's buttons. It's not a comfortable position for most, which is why it's important to work on it.

I'm one of those people who is not a big fan, so I've come up with a number of strategies that make this pose more accessible for my body. These include the use of props and setting up the pose for the best possible alignment. As with most difficult postures, consistent practice really does make a difference. Your relationship with this pose will change over time and you may be amazed to discover that it's possible to find some ease in this position.

Type of pose: Standing, Twisting

Benefits: Improves balance and core strength, stretches the hamstrings, opens the chest and shoulders.

Cautions: Avoid this pose if you are pregnant since deep twisting is not recommended during pregnancy.


  1. You can enter into revolved triangle in any number of ways, but pyramid pose (parvsvottonasana) is the best because it puts your legs in the right position. In case you're not familiar with the setup, both legs are straight and about three feet apart, which is a little closer together than they would be for warrior poses or regular triangle. Your hips are squared toward the front of your mat and your back foot is turned out about 45 degrees.
  2. Traditionally, the heel of the front foot would line up with the arch of the back foot. However, this position precludes the deep twist we are heading to for most people. Therefore, I recommend a wider stance. Imagine the feet on parallel railroad tracks while remembering to turn the back toes out slightly.
  3. With your hands on your hips, hinge your torso forward over your front leg (the left leg in this case). You want to keep your spine straight, so when you get to the point where your spine wants to round, back off just a little bit and then evaluate the best position for your right hand.
  1. Options for the right hand (in order of increasing difficulty) are directly under your left shoulder, inside your left foot, or outside your left foot. You can use a block under your hand in any of these positions for greater stability.
  2. Before you begin to twist, place your left hand on your sacrum. Feel that the sacrum is level. Keep your hand there as you begin to twist, opening your chest to the left. If your sacrum begins to feel uneven, draw your left hip forward and your right hip back to level it out.
  3. Lift your left hand toward the ceiling. Imagine that there is a wall for you to press your left palm into. This will help you open your chest and stack the left shoulder over the right.
  4. Gaze up to your right fingertips.
  5. After several breaths, release and repeat with the right foot forward.

Beginners' Tips

Traditionally, the right fingertips are lined up with the left toes. However, it can be very helpful to bring the right hand a hand's length (or more) in front of the left foot before you try to twist. This gives your torso more room to move.

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