Here is Trikonasana with active spinal movements. You can see the movement has been initiated from core stabilising muscles as you can see the tummy muscles in action. This is not a 'sucking it in tightly' type of tummy firmness.
Trikonasana comes in many forms.
In this post I share some tips on using active spinal movements to come into one variation. I make a particular point of not sinking into the front hip.
You will see that my active spinal movements create postural firmness in the tummy.
Perhaps watch the video first, then take a look at the step-by-step instructions.
We all have different bodies. This is the way I teach in class and is mainly intended for my yoga students so I can talk about the posture and discuss how these actions fit their bodies.
When practicing move slowly and don't do anything that hurts. Feel like you are doing something but without stress or strain.
The video shows me coming into the posture dynamically from a hypothetical top of mat (if I used a mat but who needs one for a pose like trikonasana especially!).
Below I have broken down some of the main actions. They are not all of the actions. I do quite a bit more subtle movement in my own practice. I look for freedom, lift, and length. I move away from squashing, pain, and strain.
1. Lengthen lower back and open front of groin
I give the instruction to move the sitting bones down, top of pelvis back. I look for a feeling of length in the lower back (subtle) as well as opening of the front of groin.
2. Spinal forward bend
Here I maintain action 1. Then I try to move forward from my spine around the level of my navel without letting my hips move back. I am basically trying to do a sit up in my tummy in a way that I can still feel the movement of the breath there. It is something I have posted about previously.
3. Lean forward and step back
Maintaining all previous actions, I lean forward so my front toes start to naturally grip then take the other leg back. I am careful not to drop into my front hip, stick my butt out, or arch in my lower back.
4. Open front of groin, lengthen lower back
Once I take toe and heel down I make sure I have maintained the length in my lower back and opening across front of groin (sitting bones down, top of pelvis back).
5. Front thigh rolls out
I check the action of the front thigh. It is rolling out.
I could also make sure my front heel is out and the outer edge of my front foot is pointing straight ahead. From there, I try to move my heel inwards without it moving. This will help activate outer hip muscles to assist in rolling the thigh out.
6. Back thigh rolls in
Allow the back pelvis to also come around to the front slightly so the lower back feels comfortable.
Roll your back thigh in. Feel the inner thigh working.
7. Stretch the ground with your feet
Push your front foot down and forward and your back foot down and backwards, as though you are stretching the ground with your feet.
You should feel the legs become very firm.
When the legs become firm, the spine should start to feel light. I am always looking for lightness in my spine.
8. Lower ribs move subtly back
I move the lower ribs subtly back into my middle back so the middle back feels light and long.
9. Navel turns towards top pelvis
I turn my navel towards my top pelvis. Importantly, I keep my back thigh rolling in.
10. Lower ribs and chest turn to sky
Keeping lower ribs in, I start to turn the rest of my spine up towards the sky.
11. Arms reach
I take an arm up and and arm down.
My arms are in line with the front of my chest.
12. If going deeper, keep front groin open
It is possible to go lower to the ground. However, I move slowly so that I do not sink into my front groin.
I need to keep strong actions of rolling that front thigh out and the sitting bones down and top of pelvis back.
If you start to sink or your butt starts to mutt out or your lower back starts becoming archy then these are signs you might be collapsing in the posture.
13. Neck in a comfortable position
Once I have the rest of the spine in place, I decide where my head and neck will be most comfortable and move them there. This could be looking down.
Happy and safe spinal moving!