November 3, 2015
  •  By: Donny Starkins

Playing Through the Pain

I grew up loving the game of baseball and played all the way until my senior year in college at Arizona State. After the 5th operation on my left knee, my body could no longer hold up. I had to give up my first love and spent many years after searching for a new identity through the things of this world. At this same time, my body was a mess from years of wear and tear by “playing through the pain”. I took medication to deal with the pain which ultimately turned into a full blown addiction. As my mom witnessed my struggles, she was always suggesting that I try yoga and even offered pranayama breathing techniques when the pain was too much. I finally accepted her advice and went to my first yoga class. When the class was over, I knew I would be doing yoga for the rest of my life.

donny starkins and mom

With mom in Sedona.

One of the poses that has been instrumental in my recovery is the Triangle pose. Having had 7 operations on my left knee and one on my right, the posture has improved the flexibility of my spine, corrected the alignment of the shoulders. It has corrected the effects of bad posture from over 15 years favoring a bad left knee. Which ultimately has relieved major backache, reduced stiffness in my neck, shoulders and knees, strengthened my ankles and toned the ligaments of my arms and legs. The list goes on and on with how this posture has healed me.

smaller image - donny

It is also said that triangle pose stimulates the nervous system and alleviates nervous depression, strengthens the pelvic area and tones the reproductive organs. Eliminates gastritis, indigestion, acidity, flatulence; massages and tones the pelvic organs.

Triangle Pose:

1) Standing at the front of your mat… With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, shoulders drown down the back, palms down.

2) Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

3) Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, avoid bending from the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel. Squeeze your heels together, lift your knee caps and slightly tuck your tailbone.

4) Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

5) Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.


I started yoga to fix my body but little did I know what it would do for the mind and soul.

It is such a gift to now be able to share the love through my teaching. Yoga has given me so much. So, how dare I not share that love with the world?

Thank you Mom! And thank you Yoga!

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