A quick fix for so many ailments in the body, Extended Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana, is a great pose to add into any practice. Major benefits of Triangle Pose include lengthening through the low back and sides of the body, opening the chest and shoulders, stretching the hamstrings, inner hips and groin, relieving sciatica discomfort, and stimulating the digestive system.
To get into the pose, start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), standing firmly at the top of the mat. Jump your feet apart until they become about 3.5 feet apart with your arms extending out at shoulder height. Keep your front foot facing forward toward the top of your mat, and your back foot turned 90 degrees so that the pinky edge side of the foot is parallel with the back of your mat.
See that your hips and shoulders are squared toward the long edge of your mat as you shift your hips back in space, shift your shoulders forward. Imagine a rope pulling your hips and shoulders in opposite directions creating length in your spine. When you cannot reach any further, tip your torso so that your spine becomes parallel with the earth. Your hand can rest on your shin, a block, or on the mat outside of your front foot.
There are several key areas that can help align your Triangle pose, allowing you to take full advantage of all the benefits.
Stay rooted equally in both feet. With your torso leaning forward, it is easy to forget about shifting your weight to your back leg and foot to help you balance and not put too much wear on the front hamstring and groin.
Maintain a microbend in your knees. Especially the front knee. It is easy to lock the knees out in order to compensate for a lack of strength in the legs. By creating a microbend you can aim to strengthen around the knee joint and inner thighs.
Keep an opening across the hips. Often times our top hip wants to roll in and down, thus closing off the squareness of both hips. When we can keep open hips, we can create more release in the lower back.
Find more length in the sides of your body. We tend to overstretch the top part of our waist, while crunching through the bottom side. Keep breathing length into both sides of your body as you work to lengthen the spine (aka pulling the hips back, as the chest and shoulders reach forward).
Open the collarbones & relax the shoulders. As much as we want openness across the hips, we also want a broad chest. Feel the shoulder blades slide down the back away from the ears as you lift up through the chest.
Press the hips forward as you lean the upper chest back. Similar to how you want to find length across the sides of the torso, you also want to find an expansiveness from the front body to the back body.
There is a lot to consider when we align ourselves properly in Triangle Pose, but just like the shape it’s named after, don’t forget to find stability and strength within.