The Extended Triangle Pose, or Utthita Trikonasana, is a deeply beneficial yoga pose that stretches the hamstrings and back muscles and can provide you with both ground stability and expansion of the chest and hips.
The Extended Triangle pose is, like its name hints at, a series of triangles: a small one built with your arm, front leg, and torso, and a bigger one by your side body, arm, and mat.
Extended Triangle Pose Basics
The Extended Triangle or Utthita Trikonasana is a standing yoga practice pose that works your whole body.
It targets the hips and chest and extends your spine, inner thighs, calves, chest, abdominal muscles and digestive organs, and back.
Many students find the different triangular shapes it creates quite pleasant, as they also give you something to focus on while practicing the posture.
Benefits of the Extended Triangle Pose
This yoga pose, popular in many yoga classes, requires you to concentrate and keep a steady breathing rhythm.
One of the benefits of extended triangle is that it can keep your mind from wandering and ground you in the present moment, at the same time stretching your hamstrings and back muscles.
The posture can improve digestion, neck pain, help with high blood pressure, energize you, and stimulate your abdominal organs.
The Extended Triangle pose is also good for your groin, hip joint, hip flexors, calves, shoulders, spine, and chest and reduces stress.
This is one of the preparatory poses that provides the most health benefits, as it engages your entire upper body.
Extended Triangle Pose: Step-by-step Instructions
- You should begin this yoga pose in Downward Facing Dog position (alternatively, you can start from the Mountain pose or standing position although the Downward Facing dog will give you a better forward bend).
- Bend your left knee and bring your left foot between your hands with your toes pointing forward. Keep the back foot on the mat and turn it out slightly.
- Bring your arms up to shoulder height and face the side of the mat with your shoulders over your hips.
- Straighten out both legs and then begin to reach forward with your left arm. Then reach your hand down towards the inside of your front leg (left leg). Hinge from the side of your body and keep your torso long. Keep your arms in a straight line (same length) as you do this, and bring your right hand up towards the ceiling.
- Keep your gaze up towards your top fingertips if you can.
- Stay in this position for five breaths.
- Inhale and lift up to standing slowly. Come back to Downward Facing Dog or standing position.
Common Mistakes of the Extended Triangle Pose
Although the Utthita Trikonasana is an easy pose to begin with when practicing yoga, you need to be careful not to be misaligned when practicing it.
You can imagine being pressed by two panes of glass to encourage you to keep your hips in line and your arms parallel.
Many students try to reach the floor, sacrificing once again the alignment of their bodies.
You should first focus on creating a strong support using your muscles and then extend from this foundation without putting too much pressure on your left foot, left hand, or left hip.
You can also avoid placing your hand on the joint by having a micro-bend in your knee. You should keep your legs straight and press firmly with your left foot and right foot.
Your left arm (bottom arm) and right arm (top arm) should be straight, parallel to the floor, and with palms facing sideways.
Variations of Extended Triangle Pose
A more difficult variation of the triangle pose is to place your fingertips on the inside of your front foot (left foot) and up towards your right-hand fingertips. Stay for three of four breaths.
To come out of the pose, bring both hands down onto the floor on either side of your front foot and step down into Downward Facing Dog.
This is the most advanced variation of the Extended Triangle pose. Repeat on the opposite side, too.
If you have a yoga block, you can place it on the mat directly beneath your left shoulder. Rest your left hand on the block and let your weight be put onto it. Your right leg and left leg should remain stretched.
You can use the block horizontally or vertically to better adjust to your flexibility in the triangle pose.
Go deeper while keeping your spine straight, flat feet, and left hip facing upwards to intensify the stretch.
Take a deep breath and hold for a few seconds. Then repeat the triangle pose on the opposite side.
How To Teach Extended Triangle Pose
To protect your yoga students from injury and help them achieve the best Extended Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana, make sure they are opening their chests when they gaze upward. Students should take deep breaths and keep their waist long.
There should be a heart-opening movement as they roll the shoulders back towards the spine.
Your students should also activate their tricep muscles when they lengthen their arms, and their obliques to stay balanced when their turn the torso upward.
The head, neck, and spine should remain stretched when engaged in the triangle pose, arms parallel to the floor.
Accessories for Utthita Trikonasana
You can use the following accessories to help your Extended Triangle Pose:
The Extended Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana provides you with a healthy mix of stability and expansion, in particular for the chest and hips.
This posture reduces stress and benefits several muscles and body parts and can help you focus your mind and aid in your digestion.
sYou should always make sure your body is aligned, right and left leg straight, and your muscles stretched to reach maximum extension.