Yoga Poses: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)


Triangle pose (Trikonasana) a.k.a Extended Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana) is an excellent pose to strengthen the lower body lengthening stiff muscles. A great standing pose for relieving stress and anxiety which you can do even during the second trimester of pregnancy (only under expert guidance).

It is best suited for people in desk jobs as it stretches all muscle groups which are most affected by a sedentary lifestyle. The pose teaches your body better sense of balance, as it strengthens and relaxes the least used muscles like those of lower body.

Health Benefits

When you get into this pose, you stretch and strengthen your ankles, knees, and thighs, while also stretching hips, groin, shoulders, back and chest. Like Parsvakonasana, Trikonasana too stimulates abdominal organs improving digestion, relieving symptoms of menopause and chronic backache.

The pose is also helpful for people with flat foot, sciatica, osteoporosis, neck pain and anxiety.

 

Getting into pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Initial Position: Mountain pose (Tadasana)

Drishti or Gaze: While performing this pose, concentrate your gaze upwards (towards the sky)

Steps: 

  1. While you get into the starting position, inhale deep and spread your legs about 3-4 m apart. Also, stretch your arms on sides, parallel to the ground with palms facing up.
  2. Exhale and extend your body to right. Do not curve your back. Try to reach the floor (your right ankle) with your right arm. The right foot in this position points towards the right side, while the left one is tilted slightly towards right.
  3. Gently twist your neck turning head and gaze upwards. In this position, your right palm is close to your foot (behind it) while the left arm is stretched upwards in line of the gaze. Breath normally. Hold this position for as long as possible.
  4. Exhale as you revert back to the starting position. Rest for a few breaths, then repeat same on left side.
  5. This is one cycle of Triangle pose. Do it twice in a practice along with other poses.

If you feel exerted, rest in Corpse pose.

Other variations

  • Iyengar Variation: (Triangle pose with vertical block) In case you find it difficult to touch the floor initially, make use of a block to rest the palm on till you gain more flexibility in your muscles. Place this block close to the feet and decrease its height with time.
  • Revolved Triangle Pose: (Parivritta Trikonasana) It is an advanced form of triangle pose. Here, as you stretch your arms on the sides, while bending down you twist your torso, i.e., you touch the left foot with right palm and right foot with left palm. This can also be done the Iyengar way, using the same vertical block. This is much effective variation of this pose, though it should never be done straight away or without guided supervision, as it involves more risk of injury.
  • Bound Triangle pose: (Baddha Trikonasana) This one is even more advanced. As you extend to a side in this variation, you take both your arms along and cross them behind your back. The thigh is also hugged in. This creates an additional stretching in the chest and front shoulders.
  • Hand position I: Palm touching the floor can either be kept parallel to the foot, or twisted away from it. For better support, spread fingers apart in a star formation.
  • Hand position II: One can also just hold the ankle or cup the heel of the foot, if touching the floor is not possible.

Preparatory pose

Beginner’s tip

Take support of the wall if you feel unsteady in this pose. In case you find it difficult to touch the floor initially, begin by aiming to touch your knee, then your calf and finally the ankle. You can also start with Iyengar variation of this pose.

Advanced poses

Important Notes

  • Those with heart, blood pressure problems or frequent headaches should not perform it.
  • People with neck injuries or pain should not twist it to the side in the final step. Rather look straight maintaining a neutral position.
  • Pregnant women can do it all till onset of third trimester, but always perform under expert supervision, though the revolved and bound triangle versions should strictly be avoided.

Further reading

  1. No Stress Reliever Like Yoga – Interview With Stephanie Mansour
  2. Prenatal Yoga:Yoga for Blissful Pregnancy
  3. Reasons You Should Invest in Yoga for Employees

Last Updated: May 8, 2014

Next Scheduled Update: July 8, 2014

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