Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, is a symbol of trinity. Sacred trinities exist in so many forms in yoga. From the practical mind, body, and spirit or birth, life, and death to the more esoteric main energy channels (nadis) of ida, pingala, and sushumna or the three gunas: tamas, rajas, and sattva, triads exist throughout yoga and, in fact, throughout life itself.
The gunas are the three qualities that make up our body and mind. Tamas is the quality of inertia. When we feel tired and sluggish, tamas is in control. Rajas is the quality of activity and passion. When we are excited, rajas is in control. Sattva is the quality of calm. When we feel peaceful, sattva predominates.
Each of these three qualities is necessary at different times and for different situations. When bedtime nears, we need tamas so that we can fall asleep. When morning comes, we need rajas to get up and get going. And when we are feeling unsteady, either mentally or physically, we need sattva to help us find calm.
Each person is born with a certain ratio of each of the three gunas. You probably know some people who are very energetic—they have more rajas. People who are slow-moving have more tamas. And people who are usually peaceful have an abundance of sattva.
The triad nature of triangle pose helps us to understand the integration of life’s balance of three. Alanna Kaivalya, author of Myths of the Asanas, recommends, “. . . when performing Trikonasana, it’s helpful to meditate on the solid foundation that we need in order to live a sattvic life and leave the world of maya behind.”
The three gunas make up everything that we perceive with our senses, also known as maya, or illusion. Balancing tamas and rajas so that we can attain a sattvic state will help us to transcend the illusion that we are our body and mind. In fact, we are much more that what we can perceive with our senses. Yoga helps us to realize this truth of our nature.