Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)(oo-TEE-tah tree-koh-NAH-suh-nuh)
utthita = extended
trikona = three angle or triangle
Love it or hate it, this notoriously tricky pose is here to stay! Whether you prefer to think of yourself as a triangle, a star, or a piece of toast in a toaster while you’re doing this one, here’s our top alignment tips to help you nail it every time!
Begin standing at the top of your mat with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Step your feet wide apart, about 4 to 5 feet.
Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle.
Align the center of your right knee cap with the center of your right ankle. Align the front knee with the second toe. Straighten both legs.
Lift through the arches of your feet, while rooting down through your ankles. Raise both arms to shoulder-height, parallel to the floor with palms facing down, reach actively from fingertip to fingertip.
Inhale and hinge from the crease of the front hip. Elongate the spine. Lengthen both sides of the waist.
Exhale and place your right hand onto the front/inside of the shinbone. Align your shoulders so your left shoulder is directly above your right shoulder. Create a straight line from the bottom hand to the top hand. Gently turn your head to gaze at your right thumb.
Inhale and engage the core, allowing your left hand to lead you back to standing. Repeat on both sides.
To Perfect this Pose
When starting out with this pose, props are your best friend! Grab a block for your bottom hand to help rebound energy up to your top hand creating a long line of energy from fingertips to fingertips across the shoulders. You can also practice against a wall – line your heels up with the wall to ensure that you are long through your spine and the buttocks and hips are even.
Be sure to check that the front knee is in line with the second toe and not hyper-extended (this will throw everything out!). Lengthen the front of the body, from the navel to the sternum through the crown of the head. Draw the shoulder blades away from the ears and in toward the chest, making sure that there's no hunching and both sides of the neck are long and even.
Be sure to work to your ability - if you're rounding through the spine or feel the top hip rolling forward simply slide the hand up the leg and closer towards the body. Start up high, and slowly allow you hand to work it's way towards the foot as your body strengthens and releases.
Most importantly - breathe, smile and enjoy!