A powerful demon named Mahishasura was wreaking havoc on the gods and goddesses and was threatening to overthrow them. He was distracting them from their duties and causing them to turn their attention toward worldly pleasures. Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, the sacred trinity in charge, were worried. They brought their energy together to create a great goddess, Mahamaya (also known as Durga).
Mahamaya was a fierce warrior, and along with her trusty lion, she attacked the evil demon. Mahishasura was able to transform into different creatures to try to defeat Mahamaya. It was a formidable fight. Mahamaya’s lion swiped at Mahishasura’s chest and was able to weaken him some. At that time Mahamaya shot an arrow into his flaming mouth, making him drop to the ground. Mahamaya stood upon Mahishasura’s chest and cut off his head with her scimitar. With the demon defeated light and grace were restored to all.
Maha maya means “great illusion”. Mahamaya fights against the illusion (maya) that makes us believe that what we see in the world is real. Our minds are represented in this story by Mahishasura; creating distractions to lead us away from our true nature.
The pose trikanasana forms three triangles (one with the legs on the floor; another underneath the side of the body with the arm and front leg; the third connects the top hand with the two feet). These triangles are representative of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. While taking trikanasana, try to meditate on bringing forth the strength of these three deities to crumble the maya and bring about your true nature.
To take trikanasana start from standing and step one foot back so feet are approximately 3-4 feet apart (this will differ depending on your leg length). The back heel is going to be turned in at about a 45o angle and you will press firmly into the back edge of this foot. Bring the arms up so that they are parallel to the ground and extending over the legs. Draw your front hip back as you extend the front arm away from the body. At this point tip forward while exhaling, bending at the hip rather than the waist, keeping both legs straight so that the front arm comes toward the floor. Top arm should stack directly over the shoulder. Turn the torso to the side so that one shoulder stacks directly over the other. Palms face the same direction as the upper body here. The hand can come to a block, to the shin or to the floor depending on your flexibility. Keep the muscles in the thighs engaged here. If it feels comfortable for your neck you can look up at the top hand. To come out, inhale keeping strong legs to lift back up and them step the feet together at the top of the mat circling hands together in front of the heart. Be sure to take the other side!