The Health Benefits of Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

  • Posted: June 8, 2011

In Sanskrit, “utthita” means extended, “trikona” means three angle or triangle, and “asana” means pose. If you have neck issues or are uncomfortable in our version of Extended Triangle Pose, turn your gaze down to the floor and consciously relax your neck. Then shift your gaze slowly upward if you can. Alternatively, keep your head centered and gaze forward.

To practice this pose with a licensed yoga teacher, check out our yoga class schedule for each location (Syracuse, Rochester, Albany). 

Getting Into Extended Triangle Pose: 

            Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Exhale and step your feet apart about 4 feet wide – it’s usually wider than you think – keeping your feet parallel to each other. Your heels should be in line. Raise your arms and reach out to the sides, palms down. Try to keep certain postures throughout Utthita Trikonasana: shoulders wide, arms parallel to the floor and torso long and upright.

            Now, turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out 90 degrees to the right so the inner part of your right foot faces forward. Remember to keep your heels in line with each other. Then, turn your right thigh outward so it faces in the direction of your right toes. Remain facing forward.

            Inhale and reach strongly to the right, allowing your hips to shift to the left as you do so. Now, exhale and bend to the right – hinging at the hips, not the waist. The key is to lengthen your torso: extend through the crown of your head while drawing your hips and tailbone toward your back heel.

Lower your right hand to your right shin, ankle, or the floor on either side of the foot (it depends on the flexibility in your hips, legs, and/or shoulders). Make sure to keep your legs straight, thigh muscles engaged and front right foot pressed firmly into the ground.  At this point, your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. Stretch your left arm straight up toward the sky.

Gaze up softly at your left hand. Hold this pose for 3-6 slow, deep breaths. To come out, inhale and press your back heel strongly into the floor. Repeat to the left for the same length of time.           

Benefits of Extended Triangle Pose: 

  • Strengthens your legs, feet and ankles
  • Stretches your hips, groins, hamstrings, calves and spine
  • Opens your chest and shoulders
  • Strengthens your back, neck and abdominals
  • Stimulates your abdominal organs, aiding in digestion
  • Therapeutic for stress, anxiety, infertility, flat feet, neck pain, osteoporosis, sciatica and symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves backache, especially during pregnancy
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