Triangle, Extended
UTTHITA TRIKONĀSANA (उत्थित त्रिकोणासन)
(oot-HEE-tah tree-kohn-AHH-sah-nah)

 


‘Utthita’= extended, stretched, or raised, ‘Tri’= three, ‘kona’= angle, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Triangle (Trikonasana)
Open Triangle

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing / Side-Bend / Stretch / Hip Opener / Balance

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), facing the front of your mat, with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward.
2. Step your left foot forward into a wide stance. Turn your right foot out to a 90-degree angle. Keep the left leg relatively straight, being sure not to hyperextend the knee. Make sure your heels are lined up and then root down through your feet to ground yourself.
3. Square your hips forward (in line with your right leg), while tightening your glutes, and tucking in your tailbone. Bring your arms out to the side like a ‘T’ as you engage your core and lift your torso. Start to lean to the left, shifting your hips over your leg, while keeping your torso and hips facing forward. Bend at the hips to bring the palm of your left hand down to the mat, placing it near the ankle on the outside or inside of your foot. (Some students may need to place their hand farther back depending on how wide their stance is). Raise your right hand straight up, pointing your fingers, with your palm open.
4. Stack your shoulders over each other so that you have a straight line from the fingertip of your right hand down to the wrist of your left hand. Keep your neck and shoulders aligned with the spine. Ideally, the spine should be parallel to the floor, but a straight line is acceptable.
5. Keep your shoulder blades flat and your spine straight, as you engage your abdomen and quadriceps, and stretch through your right side. Draw your abdomen to the spine, lengthen through the back, and stretch the right side from tailbone to shoulder. Gaze toward the sky.
6. Hold for several breaths, breathing smoothly. Feel the stretch in the inner thighs, hamstrings, and the right side of your body. When ready, release and come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana). (Hold for 20 seconds to increase strength and flexibility). Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Lower back arched
• Hips not squared
• Stance too wide
• Neck and/or shoulders strained
• Chest not open and lifted up
• Shoulders not stacked
• Floor hand not in line with front foot
• Knees hyperextended
• Knees locked
• Back knee not facing forward like hips
• Front knee not aligned with toes
• Toes of front foot not facing forward
• Back foot lifted off floor
• Heels not aligned
• Arms not aligned

Modifications
• For students who have tight hamstrings or calf muscles, stiff hips, their back heel comes off the floor, or need assistance balancing, they can either place a block by their foot to rest their hand on, practice next to a chair, or practice next to a wall so that they can place their hands on it, rest their heel next to it, or practice with the back aligned against a wall. To build flexibility, students can shorten their stance, place a chair or stool under the front thigh, place their fingertips to the mat, or place their hand on their shin. Alternatively, they can practice Side Angle, Extended (Utthita Parsvakonasana).
• Students with vertigo, high blood pressure, shoulder injuries, neck stiffness/discomfort, stiff hips, or who lose balance when looking up, they can practice without raising their arm overhead and looking up. Instead they should look forward or down and can place the hand that would normally go overhead to rest alongside the body (do not rest on the knee joint) or rest the hand on the hip. Beginners can also use this to gain confidence.
• Students with knee problems can either practice with a chair to the side and front (against the wall) or they can widen their stance so that the front heel is out slightly wider than the back heel to gain support and stability.
• For students that would like a challenge, they can either place their hands in Prayer Mudra behind their back, place their hands in Venus Lock behind their back, grab elbows behind their back or use Cow Face Pose Arms. Alternatively, they can place their hand on the outside of the foot instead of the inside to open the hips more. Lastly, they can align the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot for a narrow stance that challenges balance.

Counter Poses
• Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana) or Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
• Wide Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana)
• Chair (Utkatasana)
• Corpse (Savasana) or Reverse Corpse (Advasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Biceps and Triceps
• Upper (Cervical) and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Hips (Iliopsoas and Psoas)• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Knees• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, obliques, spine, biceps, triceps, hips, groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, calf muscles, and ankles. Relieves symptoms of arthritis.
• Opens the throat, chest, shoulders, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, hip joints and groin and reduces tension around the neck and shoulders while lengthening the spine. This also energizes the body.
• Massages digestive and pelvic organs, which improves colon function and digestion, as well as soothes constipation, stomach pains, or abdominal ailments like gastritis, acidity and flatulence.
• Improves posture as well as spinal and leg alignment, as well as soothes back ache and stiffness. Therapeutic for students with osteoporosis and sciatica.
• Stimulates the nervous system, which calms the brain, reducing stress and anxiety, as well as relieves mild depression, insomnia, and fatigue. This helps to boost energy, as well as encourage confidence, self-control, and acceptance. Also builds focus and develops willpower by stimulating the mind.
• Improves blood circulation and soothes headaches and/or migraines along with menstrual and menopausal discomfort. This also stimulates the kidneys, liver, spleen, and the thyroid and parathyroid glands as well as is therapeutic for students with weak liver, kidneys, or sinusitis.
• Improves the respiratory system by opening the chest and increasing lung capacity, which is therapeutic for students with asthma. Also helps with breath awareness and relaxation.
• Good for athletes - increases endurance and stamina.

Contraindications
1. Students with hip replacements, severe hip problems, hamstring injuries, or severe pain / discomfort in the neck, migraines, diarrhea, psoriasis, insomnia, osteoporosis of the knees, or cervical spondylosis should avoid this pose. If practiced, do with caution, props, modifications, and expert guidance.
2. Students with pain and discomfort in the neck, knees, shoulders, or hips, have an injury to the back, hips, shoulders, or hamstrings, have lower back problems, insomnia, are in the later stages of pregnancy, have a cardiac condition, or have high/low blood pressure should avoid this pose. If practiced, use caution and guidance.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the fingertips are on the floor (instead of the palm on the floor) and you look forward (instead of up).
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Utthita Trikonasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana. **This video demonstrates a slight variation where the hand in on the top of the shin (instead of on the floor).
  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolving Triangle Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Parivrtta Trikonasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “UTTHITA TRIKONASANA – Extended Triangle Pose”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the hand in on the top of the shin (instead of on the floor).
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “PARIVRTTA TRIKONASANA – Revolved Triangle Pose”.

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