Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, also known as Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose or Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose, intensely stretches the buttocks, knees, and legs.
The pose can feel awkward and unbalanced. One knee is flexed with the body and the other leg is extended forward, so that a Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose or Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose is almost inevitable.
The main story here is the stretching of the back of the body including the straight legs. However, there is a complex construction to this main plot.
In Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, the back of the body is stretched before achieving equality in the pelvis. Maintaining balance in any situation can be a struggle. This often leads to using a prop, such as a block or blanket, directly under the buttocks of the leg.
This yoga pose is recommended for persons suffering from dropped arches and flat feet. Experts believe that regular practice of Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana heals sprains in the ankle and knee, and reduces any swelling in the leg: Along with Janu Sirsasana and Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, this yoga asana is cornerstone for abdominal the organs and keeps them free from sluggishness. These forward bending postures keep your abdominal organs healthy and in trim. Apart from keeping your muscles in shape, they also work on your organs.
|Know as:||Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, Triang Mukaikapada Paschimottanasana, Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose, One Leg Folded Forward Bend Pose, Folded Leg Forward Bend Pose, Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose, Three Limbs Face One Foot Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||त्रिअंग मुखेकपद पश्चिमोत्तानासन|
|IAST:||Triaṅgā Mukhaikapāda Paścimottānāsana|
|Pronunciation:||tree-AWN-guh moo-KA-eh-ka-paw-duh PAH-shee-moh-tun-AHS-anna|
|Type:||Forward-Bend, Seated Pose|
|Total time:||60 sseconds plus|
On shin or kneecap
|Chakra:||Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra|
|Indications:||Liver, kidney, colon function, high blood pressure, infertility, sinusitis, thyroid, menstrual and menopausal discomfort|
|Counterpose:||Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)|
|Preparatory poses:||Uttanasana, Dandasana, Adho Mukha Svanassana, Virasana, Paschimottanasana|
|Follow-up poses:||Bharadvaja’s Twist Pose, Krounchasana, Supported Shoulderstand Pose|
|Contraindications:||Knee injury, low back injury, pregnancy, asthma|
Meaning + Origin
The Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of seven words — Triang + Mukha + Eka + Pada + Paschima + Uttana + Asana:
- “Triang” = “three limbs”
- “Mukha” = “face”
- “Eka” = “one”
- “Pada” = “foot or leg”
- “Paschima” = “back of the body or west”
- “Uttana” = “intense stretch or extended or straight”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
There are three limbs involved in this yoga asana; Buttocks, knees and feet. In addition to involving the three limbs, it is characterized by three asanas that hold it; Dandasana, Virasana and Paschimottanasana. Both these facts justify its name as the Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose or Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose.
The pose is a more challenging form of Paschimottanasana, which is one of the 12 basic poses of Hatha Yoga and part of the Ashtanga Yoga primary series as well.
Traditionally, as a forward twist, Triang Mukhikapada Paschimottanasana is believed to open the Manipura Chakra, the body’s energy and vitality center. Activating Manipura removes fear and insecurities, and is associated with self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of purpose.
Benefits of Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose)
There are many benefits to the forward facing posture sitting with one leg bent backwards, as it is a combination of several poses.
The physical and mental benefits of Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana or Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Mental Benefits:
Triang Mukhaikhapada Paschimottanasana (Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose) Practice Guide
Sit with your legs stretched out. Press your hands into the floor and extend your spine upward.
Bend your right leg and place your ankle next to your right hip. Point your right leg straight back. Manually widen your hip meat to the sides and distribute your weight evenly between your right and left buttocks. Press your toes firmly into the floor, and drive your right ankle toward your hip. Keep your thigh bones parallel and your left leg active.
Extend your arms forward and grasp the sides of your left foot with both hands. Inhale and lift from your lower abdomen through your head. Extend the toes of your left foot and press down firmly on the big toe, resisting the back with your hands. Use this resistance to help you draw your shoulder blades deeper into your back. Pull your lower back in and up.
Exhale, extend your elbows to the sides, and extend your torso forward, pushing your heart forward. Keep the left leg actively engaged and straight. If you are able to keep your spine extended, you can touch your head with your shin. Keep your left leg inseam facing down and extend out through your leg from your lower abdomen. Shift your lower abs more to your left leg. Keep your right sit bone on the ground to counter the tendency to lift your right hip.
Hold this position for more than 60 seconds, come out of this pose and repeat the same process on the other side.
Props and modifications
- Connect your hands to the belt with the feet and bend the knees.
- Use caution with your knees that are fully flexed. If necessary, sit on a yoga block or blanket to take a few turns from the joint. Do not practice this yoga asana if you have knee pain.
- Activate your quadriceps to straighten your leg, and pull your body forward.
- As you gain flexibility, toss the belt aside and grasp your leg. Then straighten your knee to pull the torso forward.
- Brace yourself out of the pose: Bend your straight-leg and let yourself to shift to the side, while unfolding your bent knee.
Step-by-step Anatomy Engaging Techniques
- Flex your knee by contracting your hamstrings. The indication for this is to squeeze your lower leg into the upper. Engaging these muscles also helps to protect your knee as the hamstrings are the muscular stabilizers of that joint and draw your cartilage surfaces into congruency.
- Activate your psoas and gluteus minimus to flex your hip. A useful gesture for engaging these muscles is to place the palm of your hand on the knee and press it down as you try to lift it up. You will feel your psoas contract. This closed chain contraction moves the origin of your psoas and tilts your pelvis forward.
- Notice how engaging these muscles draws the body toward your bent-leg side and grounds your pelvis.
- When your pelvis tilts forward, your ischial tuberosities (origin of the hamstrings) move backward. This action increases the stretch of these muscles towards your straight-leg side.
Activate your quadriceps of the straight-leg to extend your knee. Elevate your foot by connecting your peroneus longus and brevis to the side of the lower leg. The rectus femoris of your quadriceps crosses your hip and helps flex it. Contracting your quadriceps also helps to release your hamstrings caused by mutual inhibition.
- Pressing the heel of your straight-leg to the floor, push your body towards the bent knee and try to drag it to the side.
- This cue activates your abductor muscles of the leg, including your gluteus medius and tensor fascia lata.
- The internal rotation component of your abductors counters the tendency of this foot roll out to the side, bringing your kneecap upward-facing into a neutral position.
- Contract the supinator muscles of your forearms to bend your palms and lock the grip. Bend your elbows by activating your biceps and brachialis muscles. Note that your biceps also help in turning your palms.
- Hold your feet and try to lift your hands straight up by engaging your anterior deltoids. Because your hands do not move, this action draws your torso deeper into the pose.
- Externally rotate your hamari by bringing your arm bones parallel to the floor.
- Draw your shoulders away from the neck with the lower third of your trapezius.
- All these actions indirectly flex your trunk into a forward stretch.
Engage your adductors to draw your knees together. Contract your bent-leg side more strongly to synergize the actions of your psoas and hamstrings in shifting the center of gravity from your straight-leg.
Precautions and contraindications
While practicing Three-Limbed Forward Bend Pose or Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose, some of the precautions and contraindications to keep in mind are explained below:
Injury and surgery
For severe injury or pain in the back, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, neck and arms, as well as injury to the muscles and ligaments of any part of the body, practice a Triang Mukaikapada Paschimottanasana should be avoided. Any surgery, even if it is during the rehab phase, is a contraindication and the practice should be avoided.
Internal organs and diseases
Individuals suffering from weak digestive system, or any problem related to internal organs, should take it slow and can modify this yoga pose, such as Three-Limb Intense Stretch Pose with Strap (Tring Mukhikapada Paschimottanasana with Strap). Individuals with high blood pressure, migraines, heart problems, severe depression, may choose to practice it with bolsters, under their knees or by flexing their hips.
Women cannot practice this yoga pose during any stage of their pregnancy, unless supported by yoga bolsters, blankets, blocks, etc., and under the guidance of a experienced yoga teacher/instructor.