Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) is one of the best yoga asana for getting at multiple areas of stiff, tight, tweaked out muscles in a single posture. The pose can strengthen your entire legs, from the feet to the ankles, the thighs and buttocks, to the groin, hamstrings and calves. The pose sends pranic energy along the spine and increases the flow of cerebrospinal fluids along the spinal column.
The posture opens the chest and shoulders as well as strengthens your core, while boosting digestive fire, so that you don’t suffer form diarrhea or constipation. It reduces stress, corrects flat feet and can even help with sciatica, Osteoperosis and infertility since it sends oxygen rich blood to the pelvic region. You can also practice it during pregnancy with blocks to help relieve tension and compression in the spine, and it helps with menopausal symptoms. WHEW. That’s a long list, so you will definitely want to practice Trikonasana.
Tips and Tricks for Trikonasana
To trick out your pose, be sure to rotate your hips and ribcage open as far as your forward leg groin and inner thigh muscles will allow. You will want to make sure the back knee is rolled slightly down and that you reach the hop opposing the forward reaching arm – away from the body, so that you can lengthen the spine and allow a fuller rotation.
In order to reach the right alignment in the triangle pose, many teachers will instruct students to imagine trying to fit their bodies between two panes of glass in order to counteract the tendency to lean forward, and stick the buttocks out behind. This is a compensatory action taken when the legs, shoulders, and torso feel tight, but it can be corrected with practice, and all the benefits of the posture will be bestowed on a practitioner who keeps at it consistently.
You can also bend the front leg, and take the front elbow to the top of the thigh in order to modify the posture, or lean against a wall, trying to place the top shoulder blade against it, in order to feel a full opening through the shoulders, mid and upper back. The trick in triangle pose, Trikonasana, is not to force, but to allow. Imagine your body is taking up more space, high and low, up and down, east and west. Try not to lock out the top arm as you reach it toward the sky and check your alignment by peaking down to see if the front knee is aligned atop the ankle, as it should be. The legs will feel both strong and relaxed simultaneously, which is a challenge to work towards completing in any posture.
When you are practicing Trikonasana, you can hold for five breaths or more, and then be sure to practice a forward folding asana when you are done to relieve the axial rotation of the spine upon release. You’ll feel that big stretch which the posture provides, and the wonderful release that comes from letting it go, mindfully and slowly. Have fun tricking out your Trikonasana, but go slow.