Trying to listen to alignment cues in a yoga class and understanding the right positioning can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re a complete beginner and simply trying to just keep up! That’s why every month I will break down a pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer one or two top tips. This month, we are focusing on Triangle, also referred to as Utthita Trikonasana in Sanskrit.

Establishing the Foundation - TadasanaEstablishing the Foundation of the Pose

  1. Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and inhale
  2. On the exhalation, step or jump your feet wide apart
  3. Raise your arms to shoulder level, palms facing the floor
  4. Reach actively outwards through both hands, turning palms to face the ceiling momentarily to feel your shoulder blades flat on your back.  Try to maintain this position as your turn your palms to face the floor again
  5. Turn your left foot in a little
  6. Turn the right leg at the very top of the thigh outward while turning your right foot to the right at a 90-degree angle
  7. Check that your right heel is in line with the arch or the heel of your left foot (depending on your balance)

Moving into the pose

Moving into the Pose

  1. Inhale. On the exhalation, press the left hip out to the left as you extend your torso sideways to the right directly over the right leg and parallel to the floor
  2. Make sure the movement comes from the hip joint rather than the waist
  3. Place your right hand wherever is comfortable without compromising the length on either side of the torso, either on the shin, ankle or on the floor outside your right foot
  4. Extend the left hand towards the ceiling
  5. Reach the finger tips away from each other, have the shoulders stacked on top of each other to bring the arms into a straight line
  6. Keeping all sides of the neck long, you can keep looking ahead or pivot from the neck to gaze upwards at the left thumb

Shoulders stacked on top of each other

Maintaining the Pose

  1. Work on keeping both legs straight and strengthening the left leg by pressing the outer heel firmly into the floor. 
  2. Try to encourage the left hip forward slightly and lengthen the tailbone down
  3. Open the chest, keeping both sides of the torso equally long
  4. Stay here for a couple of breaths

Maintaining the Pose

Completing the Pose

  1. Inhale and, as you exhale, press the back heel into the floor and reach the top arm towards the ceiling to bring the torso into an upright position.
  2. Pause for a moment before repeating on the other side

Benefits, Do's and Don'ts - Utthita Trikonasana

Benefits of the Pose

  • Strengthens the ankles, knees, thighs and core.
  • Stretches the spine, groins, hamstrings and calves.
  • Opens the hips, chest and shoulders.

Don’t do it if…

  • You are currently experiencing high blood pressure.
  • You have recently injured, hips, back or shoulders.
  • You experience low blood pressure or headache.
  • If you experience high blood pressure, turn the gaze to look downwards rather than upwards.
  • If you suffer with a heart condition, place the top arm on the hip and practice against a wall.
  • If you have neck issues, gaze straight ahead keeping all sides of the neck long.
  • Beginners may find it easier to practice with the heel or back against a wall or rest the lower hand on a block rather than the shin, ankle or floor.

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