Anatomy of a Pose: Triangle

By Shelby Autrey – October 1, 2015
photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Triangle and Extended Side Angle are two of my favorite poses; they are essential to my whole practice. Together they encompass all of the actions and alignments to prepare your body for any functional movement, aid in the release of stress, and promote joyful ease. Both poses strengthen calves and thighs while lengthening inner thighs, hamstrings and spine. Triangle and Extended Side Angle offer an excellent stretch to your shoulders and chest, promote flexibility in your hips, and aid in digestion through compression of the colon. Additionally, the leg strength and hip flexibility used in this pose offers relief of most back pain.

 

Triangle // Uttihita Trikonasana

Uttihita (Extended, Stretched) Trikona (Three angle) asana (Pose)

1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) in the center of your mat. Invite a full breath in and complete breath out.  Jump your feet apart wide. Extend your arms like the letter T, palms facing the floor. Step your feet wide until your ankles and wrists are parallel to each other. 

2. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the back edge of your mat. Turn your left foot in slightly to make a firm angle. 

3. Inhale, then firm the muscles of your legs by pressing through the balls of your feet and tightening your quadriceps. Shift your hips back and reach your right arm long, out in front of you. 

4. Exhale, place your right hand on the ground or a block outside of your right shin. Reach your left arm to the sky. Turn your gaze past your top thumb.

5. As you inhale, push through your feet, draw your right hip back, tone your naval in, lengthen your body from your right hip to your right shoulder. As you exhale, press your top hand into the air as if you were giving a high five and rotate your chest open toward the sky. Continue to turn your gaze past your top thumb. 

6. Stay for one minute and breathe with deep, full, even inhales and exhales.

7. Squeeze your feet and legs toward each other, engage your abdomen and as you inhale lift yourself to standing. When you exhale, turn your right foot slightly inward, creating a firm angle. Turn your left foot 90-degrees to face the front edge of your mat. 

8. Repeat steps 3-7 on the other side of your body.

9. To come out: Squeeze your feet and legs toward each other, engage your abdomen and lift yourself to stand. Rotate your feet parallel to each other. Step your feet to meet back to Tadasana.

 

Extended Side Angle // Uttihita Parsvakonasana

Uttihita (Extended, Stretched) Parsva (Side or Flank) Kona (Angle)

1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) in the center of your mat. Invite a full breath in and complete breath out. Jump your feet apart wide. Extend your arms like the letter T, palms facing the floor. Step your feet wide until your ankles and wrists are parallel to each other. 

2. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the back edge of your mat. Turn your left foot in slightly to make a firm angle. 

3. Inhale, firm the muscles of your legs just like you did in Triangle. As you exhale, bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Make your thigh bone parallel to the floor and stack your knee over your ankle. 

4. Place your right hand on the ground or on a block outside of your right foot. Press your outer thigh into your inner arm. Stretch your left arm along side your left ear. Turn your gaze up past your left hand.

5. Push through your back foot, reach through your top arm, rotate your chest open, and feel your entire body stretch and firm simultaneously.

6. Stay for one minute and breathe with deep, full, even inhales and exhales.

7. Squeeze your feet and legs toward each other, engage your abdomen and as you inhale lift yourself to standing. As you exhale, turn your right foot in slightly creating a firm angle. Turn your left foot 90 degrees to face the front edge of your mat. 

8. Repeat steps 3-7 on your left side.

9. To come out: Squeeze your feet and legs toward each other, engage your abdomen and lift yourself to stand. Straighten your bent knee. Rotate your feet parallel to each other. Step your feet to meet back to Tadasana.

 

 
 

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