Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose): Steps, Benefits, Precautions

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose). Source: canva

Utthita Trikonasana is a standing side bending pose. On doing this pose, you may feel the better grip of feet on the ground so it’s practiced as foundational pose before other standing poses. Physically it provides extended stretching to the arms, spine, sides of the body, thighs, hamstrings, and calves muscles.

Meaning

Utthita means an extended stretch. Trikonasana is a combination of two words Trikona and Asana. Trikon defines a shape that has a total of three corners i.e. a triangle and asana means a posture or pose.

In the final position of Utthita Trikonasana, our body shape comprise several triangles that are made up of our extended hands and feet location. So it’s named extended triangle pose. Each triangle formed in this pose embodies expansion, balance, and focus.

Utthita Trikonasana is not so different from Trikonasana in terms of procedure and how it looks like. There is only a name difference between the two based on the school of yoga which you belong to. So commonly, Utthita Trikonasana is called ‘trikonasana’ or simply the ‘triangle pose’.

In History

Trikonasana is first described in the 20th century, by T. Krishnamacharya. Later, it was mentioned in his 1934 book Yoga Makaranda.

If we go little back in yoga history, we found trikonasana is originated from hatha yoga, which is based on the union of the opposite and works on the principle of coming together of divine masculine with feminine.

Same as Hatha Yoga, Utthita Trikona extends towards two opposite directions, expanding the core, and stable in the optimum expansion of the body. From far it would look as if it is a mountain forming a big triangle but when you will look closely, you will find several triangles forming by the body.

Utthita Trikonasana Practice Guide

Go through the following points before performing Utthita Trikonasana
(Extended Triangle pose).

Precautions & Contraindications

  • If you have high blood pressure do not raise your arms while doing triangle pose.
  • Don’t bend forward in the triangle pose. Extension in the body only should be done sideways.
  • Don’t strain your neck while looking upward to the stretched hands.
  • Knees might hurt when practicing Utthita Trikonasana for longer periods or in beginning. So use props with some modifications to avoid this in the beginning.
  • In case you have had a slip disc/ back, neck, or knee injury or surgery refrain doing trikonasana.

Preparatory Pose

How to Do Utthita Trikonasana (Steps)

  • Tadasana hands stretch sideways – Come over your mat. Stand straight and take the mountain pose. Take a deep breath in and spread both your feet apart from each other as much as you easily can forming a triangle between your legs. Raise both your arms at the shoulder level, outstretching side by side, palms facing down, and keeping parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch in your shoulder blades and arms.
  • Rotate and align your feet – Point your left foot slightly towards your right foot (around 20 to 25 degrees) and turn your right foot outside towards your extended right arm. Turn the right thigh along with the foot towards the direction of the extended right hand. Heels of both the foot should be on the same imaginary line.
  • Bend sideways – Now bend your body from the hip joint and place your right hand on the ground. If you cannot touch the ground you can simply try to touch your ankle or shin or even knee. (you can take a block and place your hand on the block instead of the ground). Do not bend forward. Bend your right hands sideways.
  • Now point your left hand toward the sky. Make sure that your shoulder blades are aligned and in a straight line. Point your gaze upwards to the extended hand fingertips. This is the final position of Utthita Trikonasana pose, maintain the position here.

Remain in the posture for a minimum of 30 to 50 seconds.

On completion one side, do in this same manner on the left side for an equal period of time. Then, inhale and come back in sideways hand position.

Props & Modifications

utthita trikonasana modifications on block
utthita trikonasana modifications on block

Triangle pose can be practiced with a block for beginners who are unable to reach their ankles or the floor.

  • Place a block next to the stretched leg and later adjust it according to wherever your hands are able to reach.
  • In case of losing balance again and again one can take wall support while practicing the bending pose.

Variations

By changing the hand alignment in the base triangle pose, its following variations can be practiced.

1. Baddha Trikonasana

baddha trikonasana
baddha trikonasana. Source: canva

Baddha trikonasana is an advanced variation of utthita trikonasana. It gives a deep stretch to the chest by opening shoulders with the help of wrapped arms around the torso.

2. Utthita Trikonasana Hand Stretched Sideways

utthita trikonasana variation hand stretched sideways
utthita trikonasana hand stretched sideways. Source: canva

It’s a simple variation of utthita trikonasana which gives side torso a nice and lengthening stretch. For people with high blood pressure, this variation is more suitable.

2. Utthita Trikonasana Hand Stretched Back

utthita trikonasana variation hand back
utthita trikonasana variation hand back. Source: canva

This variation is preparatory step of Baddha trikonasana as it helps in toning the shoulder joint and increase its range of motion.

Utthita Trikonasana Benefits

  1. Utthita trikonasana is extremely beneficial for the expansion of the chest and shoulders. It is good for increasing lung capacity.
  2. It is very good for losing weight and improving digestion. It increases the flow of digestive juices in the stomach.
  3. Regular practice of extended triangle pose increases the strength of thighs, knees, and ankles.
  4. It is good for blood circulation throughout the body.
  5. This asana is good for those who are suffering from stress and anxiety
    as is good for increasing balance and concentration.
  6. This asana is good for opening up of the heart chakra (expansion of
    the chest, thoracic cavity, arms), sacral chakra (as this is a meditative
    pose which helps in improving concentration with gazing of the hand)
    and root chakra (stretching of tailbone, legs, thighs, hamstring, calves).

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