The triangle pose is one of the first asanas I have learned, yet, one which I find challenging. Challenging in the sense that I find difficulty in creating awareness about how my body should be aligned in this pose. I am quite flexible in my hamstrings and I have a tendency to just “hang” into the pose with the risk of hyper-extending my front leg. I am still working on this and I really find it hard to engage my muscles in the right places.
This pose reminds me of the Louvre and the time I attempted this pose with high heels! I couldn’t straighten my front leg!
To get into this pose, here’s a step-by-step instruction from Esther Ekhart:
- Stand with your feet wide apart, about the length of your leg.
- Turn your right foot about 90 degrees to the right, and the turn the left foot in about 45 degrees towards the right.
- Distribute weight evenly over the four corners of the feet, lift arches and ankles up.
- Legs straight, lift knee caps and draw top of thighs up and back, roll right thigh out so the right knee is in line with first two toes, press the top of your left thigh back.
- Lengthen through all four sides of the waist, inhale and lift your arms parallel to the floor, extend through to the fingertips as you exhale.
- Inhale and extend your body over your right leg, shift your hips towards the back of the mat and exhale as you bring your right arm down placing your hand there where it ends up, on the leg, block or on the floor outside the foot.
- Left arm straight up to the ceiling, hand in line with your shoulder.
- Keep as much length in the left side waist as in the right, spiral your heart to the ceiling.
- Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping your neck in line with spine. Look straight in front of you, or look up toward your left hand.
- Keep your face relaxed and breath gently as you keep extending through fingertips and lengthening through the crown of the head.
- To come out press your feet into the floor, inhale and reach your left arm up to the ceiling as you come back to standing straight.
- Pivot your heels so you reverse the orientation of your feet to the other side and repeat on the left.
- If you feel unsteady in this pose, place the back of your back heel and the back side of your body against the wall.
- Bring the lower hand up onto a block if you find that you are collapsing into the pose. It’s important to keep the legs straight.
Benefits of Utthita Trikonasana / Triangle Pose:
- Strengthens the legs and back.
- Stretches inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, chest and opens hips.
- Helps to relieve back pain.
- Energizes, balances and focuses you.
- Stimulates abdominal organs.
- Relieves stress.
- Can help with anxiety and sciatica.
Watch out for…
- Don’t rest your hand on your knee – if you are finding this pose difficult, as this creates too much pressure on the knee.
- Avoid this pose if you suffer from headaches, low blood pressure or diarrhea.
- If you have neck problems – do not look up – keep the gaze straight ahead or look down to the floor.
Pose Alterations / Advancements:
- You can change the dynamic of this stretch by bringing the top arm over the back of the top of the ear, parallel to the floor.
- To further advance this pose, align the front heel with the arch of your back foot.
Here’s a youtube video demonstrating the pose: