Triangle Pose, Utthita Trikonasana, (oo-tee-tah tree-cone-ahs-ah-nah)
utthita (extended) + trikona (triangle) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Trikonasana, Extended Triangle Pose
Stretch and strengthen your whole body and build a strong foundation with Triangle Pose
Triangle Pose Fundamentals
Build your base and find stability and grace in Triangle Pose. This pose is one of the foundational yoga asanas.
The pose is known as Trikonasana in Sanskrit, and “trikona” literally translates to “triangle”. It is named after the shape your body forms when you enter the full expression of the posture.
Physically, it aims to help build your base for all standing asanas by strengthening and lengthening the legs. It also opens the chest, shoulders, side of the core, and hips. For these reasons, it may relieve lower back, neck, and shoulder pain.
On a more esoteric note, Triangle Pose invites us to explore the symbology of the number three. This number has many meanings and associations across all cultures and beliefs. In yoga, we can find it referenced in the three gunas, or forces of nature, in the three doshas, or energies in Ayurveda, and in the three main nadis or energy pathways in the body.Still, one of the most prominent symbologies of the triangle in yoga we can think about when we practice the Triangle Pose may be the unification of the Mind, Body, and Spirit. Try practicing the asana with this intention, using your breath to guide your movement, and your focus to hold the pose. This will also naturally lead to greater awareness, allowing you to feel the sense of harmony and bliss which comes when you connect these three main aspects of your being.
Moreover, the Triangle pose leads us to consider our stability, strength, and balance. The asana teaches us these core virtues on the mat. But it may also plant a seed that leads us to evolve them in other aspects of our lives.
As you can see, although Triangle Pose is foundational, it can lead us in many directions when we’re setting an intention for our practice.
You cannot go right or wrong when you are choosing your own theme to contemplate. These ideas may simply inspire you to take a deeper look within, instead of only considering the physical shape of Triangle Pose.
Triangle Pose Chakras
The work on these virtues can also be viewed through the lens of chakras, as this pose activates our root, sacral, and heart chakra.
The root and sacral chakras bring personal stability, emotional balance, and internal strength, while the heart chakra allows us to expand our love and gratitude to all other beings and situations we encounter in our day-to-day lives.
Triangle Pose Benefits
- Lengthens and stretches the spine, hips, chest, and shoulders.
- Activates and strengthens the core and legs.
- Builds stability and a sense of balance, which will be useful for other standing poses, but also other physical activities you may be involved with beyond yoga.
- Stimulates the internal organs in the stomach, so it may boost detoxification and digestion.
- Releases tension from the lower back and hips, which is often where we store our stress, anger, and other negative emotions. In this manner, it may help reduce stress and lead us to a calmer state of mind.
How To Do Triangle Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin standing towards the wider side of your mat. Open your leg to about one leg, or 3-4 feet distance apart.
2. Open your left foot to the side, pointing the toes towards the shorter side of the mat. Turn your right toes in 45 degrees. Root down throughout both your feet to feel stable in the pose.
3. Engage your thighs and make sure your left knee is in line with the toes.
4. Activate your lower abs and open your arms to the sides.
5. Now simultaneously reach towards the left and shift your hips back, towards the right. When you are not able to extend any further, drop your left hand down, placing it on the shin, or the floor.
6. Rotate your chest towards the ceiling. Open your right arm straight up and gaze towards the hand.
7. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Then engage your abs and let your right arm guide you back into the upright position. Shift your feet towards the right, and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Find the hand placement that works best for you. The ideal placement allows you to remain long in the upper body and will depend both on your flexibility and anatomy. Some ideas are placing the hand on your shin, on a block, or on the floor.
- Try pressing the floor throughout all four corners of both feet to gain stability in the pose.
- Maintain a slight bend in the front knee to avoid hyperextending it. Still, don’t bend it too much in an effort to move your hand to the floor.
- If looking up isn’t comfortable or if you have any neck problems, keep your gaze on the floor.
- Keep your core and thigh muscles engaged to receive the full benefit of the pose.
Triangle Pose Variation:
Triangle Pose Variation: Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose is a twisted version of this asana. Begin in the same setup as Triangle Pose, with one foot facing towards the short edge of your mat and your arms extended out at shoulder height.
The main difference comes when you’re bending your torso. You will rotate your torso and move towards the foot with the opposite hand.
For example, if you are bending towards the right foot, you will twist your torso to the right, moving the left hand towards the right shin, and opening the right hand up to the sky. If lifting the arm is too difficult, you may also keep the hand at your hip.
This variation is usually done right after the classic Triangle Pose in Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga styles.
Triangle Pose Variation: Triangle Pose With A Block
Using a yoga block is a great way to work on creating length, for all practitioners, regardless of experience. To make use of a block, simply place it next to your foot – both inner and outer side of the foot are correct. You can also place the block on any level. Then, when you enter the pose, rest your hand on the block instead of the shin or the floor.
This variation is often done in Iyengar yoga, as this style prioritizes perfect alignment.
Triangle Pose Variation: Bound Triangle Pose
This variation is appropriate for more advanced students who already mastered Triangle Pose. It is a good choice if you want to deepen the stretch in your upper body. It will also challenge your balance more.
To practice Bound Triangle Pose, enter the classic Triangle Pose first. With your left foot forward, reach your right arm behind your back and your left arm underneath the left thigh, and try to clasp your hands behind your back. You may need to adjust the stance or the placement of the back foot to help you achieve this pose – do whatever feels good for you.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Forcing the hips to stay in line. This pose is typically taught with the instruction to keep your hips aligned. However, that may not be suitable for many practitioners as it may strain the lower back too much. Instead, allow your back hip to slightly roll forward. You will still feel the benefit of the pose, but it will be much safer and more comfortable.
Resting the hand on the knee. You don’t have to reach the floor with your hand, but avoid placing it directory on the front knee, as that will put too much pressure on the knee joint.
Injuries and Conditions
Avoid practicing the pose if you have injuries in the back or neck. Also avoid if you suffer from low blood pressure, migraines, or diarrhea. If you have high blood pressure, don’t raise your hand overhead and keep your gaze down. Consult with a professional if you’re not sure if this pose is right for you.
Five Pointed Star Pose
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
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