Yoga for Runners: Position 9 - Trikanasana

If you're short on time (or just impatient) and looking for a way to work out several parts of the body at once then Trikanasana, the Triangle pose, is your man (or woman. Yoga isn't sexist).

As Olga Allon, owner of Hot Bikram Yoga, puts it: "It's a bit of wonder stretch. It works every part of you and there are no parts of the body that are not given a good going over. There's no respite.

"As well as working your muscles, joints and tendons it also strengthen the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system. It really is the most dynamic stretch of the 26 in the Bikram sequence."

Trikanasana: Step by Step

1. Start with your feet together, standing tall and put your arms over your head

2. Take a big step out to the side with your left foot. Ensure that your left foot is facing outwards, parallel to the wall. Right foot should be turned 45 degrees inwards.

3. Bend the left knee and sink to the left and have a few bounces on your hips to warm up.

4. Left thigh should be parallel to floor.

5. Lower your arms so they are horizontally stretched out, and keep your spine maintained completely straight

6. Now move your arms in the manner of clock hands so that your left arm swings down and ends up vertical, at six o clock with your left elbow pressing against the left knee and the fingertips resting on top of the toes; and the right arm swings up vertically towards 12oclock. Arms should be locked straight and be careful to move only the arms not the body.

7. Push back against the knee with the left elbow and twist your head round to try and look up and back at your right hand.

This is the ideal position. Hold for 30 seconds if possible and then repeat on the other side, working each side twice.

Trikanasana: The Benefits

You may have to work up to having the hands at 12 and 6; or start off keeping your head facing forward. Olga Allon says: "If you're really struggling then instead of pushing down with the left hand simply lean down and rest the left arm on the left thigh, and push the right arm upward, this will slowly open up the hips while maintaining correct posture. Many runners have trouble with this pose at first because they get such tight hips, groin and hamstrings, but if they do it regularly they will see their running efficiency come on in leaps and bounds."

In other words, you'll become a better runner without doing any extra running. Result.

And if you want more detail on why it's so good, here's the list of benefits it bestows on you (deep breath):

major side stretching, it opens hips, is good for the kidneys, thyroid and adrenal glands, works frozen shoulders, reduces saddlebags, builds muscle, nerves and tissue strength, helps improve chemical imbalances, constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, and PMS, and works all the muscular systems at same time.

Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.

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