Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Level: All levels
Category: Standing Pose, Forward Extension, Twist, Backward Extension (slight)
Utthita = extended or stretched. Tri = three. Kona = angle.
Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), as with other relatively simple poses such as Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) and Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose), gives the practitioner a beautiful opportunity to work with many of the different ranges of motion in the body.
Organizing the pose
- • Bring the feet together and stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
• Lift the arms, bending the elbows, and bringing the fingertips together in front of the chest and the palms facing down towards the floor.
• Inhale and either step or lightly hop the feet apart and come into Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose) with the feet at least one leg length apart.
• Turn the right leg out and the left foot in to come into Parshva Hasta Padasana (Side Hands and Feet Pose).
• Exhale and reach the right arm and trunk out over the right leg, bringing the hand to either the shin, the ankle or a block on the floor (see insert), keeping the trunk in the same plane as the legs. (Note that, if you take your hand too far down, you will pitch the chest forward and collapse the pelvis down towards the floor. Better to have the hand higher up and be able to open the body fully. Once you have firmly established that, then you can start to bring the hand closer to the floor.)
• Open the trunk out to the side and reach the left arm up to the ceiling.
• Turn the head to look up with out straining the neck. (If this is not possible, keep looking out to the side.)
• Hold the position for several breaths.
• To come up, inhale, press into the feet and stretch the legs up and lift back up to Parshva Hasta Padasana (Side Hands and Feet Pose).
• Bring the feet back to Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet).
• Repeat on second side.
- • Ground down through the big toe mound of the front foot.
• Turn the front thigh all the way out to bring the hip, knee and foot all facing the same direction.
• Press into the back heel.
• Draw the thighs up into the chest.
• Reach the draw the tailbone down towards the heels and soften the lower abdomen.
• Lift the upper abdomen.
• Lengthen up through the sides of the trunk.
• Turn the chest and trunk up towards the ceiling.
• Reach the wrists away from each other to get a stretch across the chest and the upper back.
For even more detail about this pose, check out this blog post.