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woman performing extended triangle pose on mountain

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) | Freedom Genesis

The Extended Triangle Pose is one of the best beginners poses for reducing back pain and keeping the muscles of your entire posterior chain loose and injury-free. However, even though it’s a beginner pose, it’s not without its challenges. But we’ll show you exactly how to perform the Extended Triangle to get maximum benefits so you can master this pose in no time. 

Let’s get right to it...

Woman doing extended triangle pose on yoga mat in studio

How to Perform Extended Triangle Pose - Step-by-Step 

Step 1: Begin by standing at the front edge of your yoga mat in Mountain Pose. Your hands should be at your sides and your feet about shoulder-width apart. 

Step 2: Take a deep breath and on the exhale spread your feet so they’re 3-4 feet apart like you’re about to do a split. Now point your right foot forward while keeping your left foot parallel with the back edge of your yoga mat. Make sure your thighs are firm and you’re not locking your knees out. Your heels should be on the same line. 

Step 3: Lift your arms so they’re straight out from your shoulders (shoulder height). Your shoulders should be open and rotated down and back. Almost like you’re trying to pull your shoulder blades down and back. 

Step 4: Now push your left hip back towards the back of the mat while reaching your right arm straight forward and hinging at your hips. Keep your torso as long as you can and as straight as possible. You’re bending at your hip and not your waist. The crease in your leg right at the top of your thigh is where you’re bending from. 

Step 5: Continue to reach forward as far as you can and when you can’t reach forward anymore, begin to bend forward at your hip keeping a nice long line through your arms and shoulders. The tendency is to collapse your right side at this stage. Make sure you focus on keeping your torso long to avoid collapsing your side. Continue bending until you can’t bend and then rest your right arm on your leg or on a yoga block.

Step 6: At this stage, you’re going to want to rotate your torso towards the ground. Instead, spiral your torso so that your heart is moving in the direction of the ceiling. It can help to look up at your left hand which is reaching toward the ceiling. 

Step 7: Take a few deep breaths and enjoy the pose. Once you’re finished, simply look back down towards the floor and on an exhale, hinge at your hips and slowly return to your standing position. Now repeat these same steps on the other side.

Difficulty: Beginner

Modifications to Extended Triangle Pose

The triangle pose can be difficult if you’re not an experienced yogi or you’re not very flexible. It’s easy to collapse your floor facing side while you’re in the pose. It can also be difficult to keep your leg straight and reach the floor. 

For the less flexible, reaching the floor with your front arm may not be possible at first. If this is the case for you, focus on keeping your form in check the whole time. You can rest your front arm on your thigh if needed. 

As you get a little more experienced, you may decide to place a yoga block on the floor and reach for this. Once you can reach the block, you can place your weight on the block and rest in the pose. 

For the very advanced, if the pose feels easy, you can deepen it by aligning your front heel with the arch of your back foot. 

Benefits of Extended Triangle Pose 

  • Stretches all the muscles along your sides. 
  • Stretches your hamstrings, calves, and the muscles of your groin. These are the muscles that tend to tighten after sitting for extended periods of time and often lead to other pain.
  • Stretches muscles in your core, back, shoulders, and spine. 
  • Improves circulation.
  • Reduces stress. 
  • Contracts the organs in your abdomen to stimulate blood flow and detoxification.
  • It helps to relieve back and hip pain.
  • It helps with sciatica pain, neck pain, and many other aches and pains caused by inflexibility and rigid muscles.

Cautions 

The Extended Triangle Pose is considered safe for most people. That being said, there are some times to avoid it or check with your medical doctor first. 

  • If you’re pregnant
  • Have low blood pressure 
  • Have a heart condition
  • Have high blood pressure 
  • Neck problems - don’t look up during the pose. Instead, keep your neck in a comfortable position
  • Headaches or diarrhea
  • Knee problems 

Related Yoga Poses

The Extended Triangle Pose is an excellent pose to perform anytime. It can be used in between long periods of work to loosen up your muscles, as a warm-up pose, or as part of your cool-down routine.

Related poses include: 

Pose Information

  • Sanskrit name: Utthita Trikonasana
  • Difficulty: Beginner

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