Love Triangle

Visualise a group of young healthy people casually talk about an asana (a yoga posture). I reckon it isn’t uncommon to hear them talk about the techniques of getting into the pose and, occasionally, out of the pose, the alignment, and the benefits of the asana. Sometimes these people throw in modifications and contraindications into the conversation. However, when was the last time you heard people share a legend of or related to an asana?

 

Allow me to associate the following fable to the way I view Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).

There was a frog who lived in a shallow well. “Look how well-off I am here! ” he boasted to a big turtle from the ocean. “I can hop along the coping of the well when I go out, and rest by a crevice in the bricks on my return. I can wallow to my heart’s content with only my head above water, or float on my belly in a playful manner. No others can compare with me. I am lord of this well and master of the water. What more can one ask for? My happiness is great! Why don’t you come down here more often to have a good time?”

The turtle halted, then began to describe the ocean to the frog. Even with the distance of a thousand miles, we are unable to describe the size of the ocean. Neither can the height of ten thousand feet give you an idea of its depth. There were floods nine years out of ten yet the water in the ocean never increased. There were droughts seven years out of eight yet the water in the ocean never decreased. The ocean does not change with passage of time and its level does not fluctuate according to the amount of rainfalls. It has remained quite constant throughout the ages. The greatest happiness is to live in the ocean.

After listening to these words, the frog in the shallow well was silent and felt a little abashed. The frog was shocked into realisation of his own ignorance and all of a sudden, he felt so small.

 

I used to view Trikonasana as a simple-looking asana, but now it’s a simple-looking asana that seems to be difficult to perform at every level. A pose becomes perfect when the effort to get into the pose ceases. At first there was a foot of improvement I needed to work on. Then I was several inches away from the proper alignment. After that, just when I thought I was quite close to the perfect alignment, I missed by an inch (or a couple of inches). In the end, I would still be short of one or two centimetres here and there.

Some of the qualities of the triangle are stability, strength, steadiness, resistance, and equilateral. This posture activates the base chakras by enhancing the manipura chakra (at the navel, corresponds to the solar plexus) and pulls energy and prana from the muladhara chakra (root foundation, at the base of the spine). When the distance from one heel to the other heel is perfect, we can see an equilateral triangle formed in the posture.

This experience reminds me to always refer to and never overlook the fundamentals that help build a solid foundation (base), which is the platform to spring far and high. This is true for asana practice, other areas of yoga, and life in holism. Say goodbye to that boastful frog, living in the shallow well, who actually knew nothing at all.

 

Sarah Yong
200hr Weekday YTTC (Jul/Aug 2013)