Asana of the Week: Baddha Trikonasana

Bound triangle, or Baddha Trikonasana, is a pose that I don't see in many of the books. I was introduced to this asana during a Yoga Today class several months ago. I remember the first time distinctly: the instructor cued us while in a bound side angle to straighten the front leg while keeping the bind. My hips and hamstrings balked. I thought, she must be joking. But I gave it a try, and in the process was reminded of the importance of humility on the mat (and in life, damn it!). The tough ones seem to have a way of growing on me, and Bound Triangle has been no exception.

I always enter this asana from Bound Side Angle, apparently also known as Bound Warrior in some circles. In my experience, the key to the twist is to keep the chest open and reach up toward the ceiling (or the sky, if one were so fortunate as to be practicing outside) as you straighten the front leg.  I recommend keeping the knee slightly bent if you're feeling any tension around the knee or hip joints. This is a very deep active stretch.

Below is the rear view of the same pose, done on the other side. I noticed when I saw the photo that I grabbed with the wrong hand. Mistake! That's probably why it looks a bit less open on this side. I wondered, at first, why my left elbow was so bent until I saw my binding error.

Don't do that, folks. Just remember, "the wrapper is the grabber!" (Swenson, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual). In other words, the arm that wraps around the leg is the same hand that grabs the wrist, or the fingers of the other hand, or a strap, or shirt, or whatever you can get a hold of comfortably.

I like to practice bound triangle in a flow as follows:
  1. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1)
  2. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
  3. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
  4. Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle)
  5. Baddha Trikonasana (Bound Triangle)
  6. Return to Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle)
  7. Bird of Paradise Pose
  8. Release on an exhalation and step back to Parsvakonasana
  9. Vinyasa
  10. Repeat on the other side.
(Leave out the bird of paradise if you're not into it. Just inhale back to warrior II from bound side angle before taking a vinyasa, and it's still a great sequence.)

Where have you seen Baddha Trikonasana, and how do you incorporate it into your practice?


  1. I thought this one was in the Yoga Bible?? And the final step is to lift up the back leg and balance? They make it look so easy in the book...

    I love this pose! Having the arms bound makes you really focus on the work of opening up the chest. Awesome. :) I occasionally throw this into my vinyasa class for a fun variation. I also prefer leading into it from extended angle. Nice shot & post!

  2. Sure enough! It is in the Yoga Bible (such a handy little book for quick reference and variation ideas, isn't it?), page 84 as the "side angle pose sequence." I haven't tried coming onto the front leg for the balance, but now that you mention it, I think I will give it a go ;)

  3. I agree - the only possible way is to come from bound side angle, in my opinion. And I still don't quite get the leg straight. I love bound side angle, but bound triangle is awkward and cumbersome to me - I guess that means I should keep working on it it : )

  4. Oh I like this, just tried it, bit of a mistake as i've just got out of a hot bath, bit light headed now. Like how in the picture all your muscles look tense and yet you have this beatific smile. So now I'm supposed to raise a leg or something.... perhaps later.

    BTW that's a damned fine yoga towel you have there.

  5. Aside from vinyasa classes where it was introduced just as you've described, I found this in Matthew Sweeney's "Vinyasa Krama" book where it is, true to life, done from bound side angle. In that same sequence, however, there is a bound *revolved* triangle. Now THAT's a balance challenge!

  6. Jamie - This is definitely an awkward pose at first. There's a happy place somewhere between hypertension of the front knee and a very obtuse side angle, if you can work out the pressure between the thigh and the bound arm.

    Grimm - Ha! Why, thank you! It is a nice towel, isn't it... tasteful gray and all.

    patrick - Revolved bound triangle? WHUUHHGH?? No... I don't think so. I won't be doing that. At least not any time soon.

  7. Ooooooooooooooooh bound revolved triangle???? Call me crazy but that sounds like something fun to work towards! I will definitely give that a go in my next practice. ;)

  8. Thank YOU!!! I'm currently in Yoga Teacher Training (graduating Dec 14th) and our practice teach group is using the Bird of Paradise for our Apex pose to the theme of Swadhyaya. I was playing with that transition and googled to see if the transition was OK and it is! YAY!

    1. Hi Joi,

      So glad to help. Good luck with your sequence!