Patita Tarasana - TINT Yoga

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Patita Tarasana Fallen Triangle

    Quick Facts

  • Sanskrit (Original): Patita Tarāsana
  • Etymology: Fallen (patita); star (tar); pose (āsana)
  • Fun Fact about the pose: Patita Tarasana is a combination of Trikonasana (Triangle) and Vasisthasana (Side Plank).
  • Asana Type: Arm Balance
  • Main length muscle groups: Hamstrings; tensor fasciae latae; latissimus dorsi; external obliques; rectus abdominis
  • Main strength muscle groups: Spinal extensors, spinal flexors; internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum; serratus anterior, rotator cuff, deltoid; hamstrings; gluteus maximus; muscles of the foot
  • Vinyasa Breath: Inhale

How to Cue the Pose: Step By Step

  • 1 One option to enter Patita Tarasana is to start in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Have the index fingers pointing forward so that the arms are slightly externally rotated.
  • 2 Lift one leg up and pull the knee in towards the nose.
  • 3 Lift the hips and the heel of the back foot up to create space between your body and the mat.
  • 4 Turn the heel of the back foot in so that it is parallel to the short edge of the mat like in Virabhadrasana II.
  • 5 Press the hands firmly into the mat to stabilize the shoulder girdle.
  • 6 Thread the lifted leg underneath your body so that it faces the long side of the mat. Engage the foot by pushing the inner edge of the foot towards the ground (it might not reach it).
  • 7 On an inhale, open up by extending the arm of the back-foot side up in the air.
  • 8 Lift your hips up and engage your glute muscles.
  • 9 Rotate the chest up to face the ceiling.
  • 10 Draw the shoulder blades together and extend through the fingers of the lifted arm.
  • 11 Keep the neck in a neutral position rather than letting it drop backwards.
  • 12 To come out of the pose, place the top hand back on the ground, lift the front foot and thread it back to return to Adho Mukha Svanasana. As an alternative, sit yourself down and proceed with seated poses such as Upavistha Konasana.

Working The Details: Alignment In The Pose

Learn about common mistakes and teaching perspectives of the pose in our Asana Tutorials.

  • Keep the shoulders active: It’s very tempting to just sink in the shoulder of your bottom arm and let all your body weight rest on that arm. Instead, push the hand into the mat and actively lift yourself out of your shoulder rather than passively sinking in.
  • Evenly distribute your weight: Equally important is the engagement of the entire body in order to evenly distribute the body weight. To do so, activate both feet, i.e. the outer edge of the back foot pushes towards the ground and the inner edge of the foot that is threaded through reaches in the direction of the ground as much as possible as well. Also, push the hips up to bring them into maximum extension and engage the buttocks.
  • Keep the neck wrinkle-free: Many practitioners unconsciously let the head drop back whenever they practice a chest-opener. However, the opening action should happen in the thoracic spine, not in the cervical spine. As a rule of thumb, you always want to keep your neck wrinkle-free, i.e. do not overextend or flex the neck. Instead of letting the head passively fall back, make a conscious effort to keep the neck long and neutral. This way, you also engage the surrounding muscles, protecting your neck.

Adapting The Pose Through Modifications

Simplify

  • If you cannot keep your hips up (yet), let your buttocks either rest on the mat or on a block when you transition into the pose from Downward-Facing Dog. Consider this an intermediate step before you lift up the hip. Gradually, you will be able to lift the hip higher and higher.
  • Keep both hands on the floor and only slide the leg through to get a feeling for this pose. This way, you will already learn to work your obliques. As you gain more strength (and confidence!), you will be able to lift your hand up and open your chest toward the ceiling.

Level Up

  • For an even greater challenge for your core strength, keep the threaded leg up in the air, i.e. don’t let the inner edge of that foot drop down on the ground. This way, you really need to work the external obliques of that side. If you still want more, grab the lifted foot with your hand and actively push the foot into the hand.
  • Take the pose Parita Tarasana to the next level and transition into Camatkarasana. To do so, you bend both knees and push the front foot entirely into the ground. Lift the back heel so that you will be able to push your hip up even further for a nice deep heart opener.

Benefits of Patita Tarasana

  • Patita Tarasana is a great strength exercise that especially works your external obliques (namely on the side that faces the ground) as well as the legs and arms (namely the supporting arm).
  • Given that you keep the neck neutral, you also strengthen your neck muscles in this pose, which will benefit your general posture and can prevent neck pain in the long term.
  • Fallen Triangle opens the entire front side of the body, i.e. the hips, the chest and the shoulders.
  • As this is a less deep backbend, it is great preparation for deeper heart openers and gives you a first impression of the feeling to turn your heart towards the sky.
  • The leg that is threaded through also receives a nice stretch for the IT band and outer hips.

This pose is probably the first step into really deep heart openers such as Camatkarasana or Urdhva Dhanurasana. Especially since the most difficult part in these poses is to have the courage to open your heart towards the sky. Once you’ve experienced this eerily beautiful feeling in a more accessible pose, you will be ready to go into deeper backbends.

Doreen

Content Manager at TINT | Passionate Yoga Teacher

FAQ: Common questions about this pose

You’ve probably given in to the temptation to let all your body weight rest on your grounding arm. But this precisely is the action that may cause problems since you put a lot of pressure on your shoulder joint. While this is the most mobile joint in our body, it’s also the most vulnerable, especially if it has to bear the weight of the body. So, resist the temptation to sink into your shoulder but actively push yourself up. Also push your hips up and engage your legs so that your arm doesn’t have to do all the work of lifting your body.

It may surprise you, but arm strength is not the primal limiting factor in this pose. This is because you want to avoid putting your entire body weight on the supporting arm anyway. Instead, you should focus on distributing your weight evenly throughout the body. This means that you also need strength in your hips and glutes to push the hips up as well as strong legs that provide additional support. The third factor is your core, namely the external obliques. As they are strong and engaged, they give your body the stability needed to leave the ground. As you can see, your arms only play a minor role in Fallen Triangle.

Fallen Triangle is sometimes also referred to as Extended Wild Thing. And this already gives you a clue as to what the difference is. While both legs are straight in Fallen Triangle, your knees are bent in Wild Thing and the heel of the back foot is lifted. In general: Wild Thing is more of a backbend while Fallen Triangle is a playful variation of Side Plank.

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