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Utthita Trikonasana: Triangle Pose


A classic standing posture in many yoga lineages, triangle pose, or utthita trikonasana (oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-uh-nah), strengthens and stretches the entire body. Approaching the pose with knowledge of intelligent modifications will help you enjoy the posture and all it has to offer.

Philosophy + Origin

In hatha yoga, where the intent is to unite opposing forces – sun with moon, masculine with feminine, light with dark – this pose offers an opportunity to embody this philosophy when you focus on finding stability while you expand. When you look at the physical shape of the posture, you also see the triangles being formed. And, when you look a little closer, you find several triangles hidden in the shape of the body – the two legs with the floor, floating under the side body, and between the front foot and the front hand.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place your hand on a block next to your front leg to help keep length in the spine.
  • Avoid forcing the hips to squared.
  • Micro-bend your front knee to prevent locking it out.
  • Look to the side or down rather than looking up to prevent strain in your neck.
  • Practice the posture with your entire back body supported at a wall.

CONTRAINDICATIONS:

  • Low back pain or injury.
  • Sacroiliac pain.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Heart conditions.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in warrior II pose with your right foot forward.
  2. Straighten your front knee and keep a micro-bend so the knee does not lock out.
  3. Exhale to send your left hip toward your back foot and hinge toward the front of your mat.
  4. Place your right hand on the ground, block, or shin. Reach your left hand toward the sky.
  5. Gently roll your left ribs back as you encourage your right ribs forward. Both sides of your torso should feel equal in length.
  6. Draw your tailbone down toward your left heel.
  7. Take your gaze toward your top hand if comfortable on your neck.
  8. Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds. Use an inhalation to bring yourself back up, rooting through the back heel and using it as an anchor. Change the position of the feet and repeat on the opposite side.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Standing wide-legged forward fold | Prasarita padottanasana
  • Warrior II | Virabhadrasana II
  • Tree pose | Vrksasana

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Utthita = extended
  • Trikona = triangle
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Expands chest and shoulders.
  • Improves hip joint mobility.
  • Stretches and strengthens thighs, knees, ankles.
  • Stretches hips, groins, hamstrings, calves.
  • Stimulates the organs in the abdomen.
  • Encourages natural arches in the feet.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Relieves stress.
  • Calms the mind.
  • Opens up channels to aid fertility.

MANTRA:

“Har Har Waheguru Mantra”

Used to restore the balance in our bodies, minds, and the environment around us, reciting “Har Har Waheguru” will ground you while simultaneously offering you the opportunity to expand. When practiced regularly, this mantra will help you realign with your true self. Translated, this mantra means: The Creator is bliss, Great is the Guru.

MUDRA: Mudra for Balancing Energy

Touch the tip of your index finger with the tip of your thumb and hold for sixty seconds. Repeat holding for sixty seconds, but alternate the finger that touches your thumb (index, middle, ring, pinky). You can practice this rotating mudra for as long as you like. You can also tap the fingers at a faster pace (not holding), reciting the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma (saying each syllable as you move your fingers).

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