EXTENDED TRIANGLE – UTTHITA TRIKONASANA
Utthita Trikonasana, or Triangle pose, is a great way to invert your posture and point of view, and step out of your routine, stretching and lengthening the whole body, letting tensions go away from your physical and energetic body.
It is very important to perform Extended Triangle on both sides for the same length, that you can measure in number of complete breathing cycles.
Begin in Warrior II pose: feet approximately around four feet (one meter) apart, depending on your height and stability, let’s say the right leg is on front, with the toes pointing forward, and the left leg back, with your foot rotated by a 90° angle, pointing left. Your hips, torso and shoulders face the left side, so your hips are open and legs straight. Arms are wide open and parallel to the floor, creating a T shape. Gaze forward, in the direction of your right middle finger.
Are you ready? It’s time to start bending. But first…you must create space in your body! How?
Inhale and push your left hip slightly backward; meanwhile, lengthen your torso and start bending to the right. You can place your right had on the right shin or a block for support. Stop bending when you feel the maximum lengthening with no pains.
Beware that your torso and legs should lay on a plane, no curves nor arches back or front.
To complete the asana, place your right hand on your ankle or on the floor, to the right and external part of your leg, and extend the left arm to the sky so that your arms create a straight line, perpendicular to the floor.
Ideally, you should look up to your left hand, but if you have any back or neck problem, you can place your hand on the left hip and gaze to the front or down.
In Triangle pose, do not focus on your level of bendiness: it’s not important that you touch your ankle or floor! Instead, always focus on stretching and activating your legs, while opening your chest: this is the real purpose of Utthita Trikonasana!
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
On the physical plan, the main benefit of Trikonasana is the elongation of the torso, together with chest opening. Triangle pose is also great to lengthen the hamstring and the whole back while toning up the legs.
Executing Trikonasana correctly entails a great deal of focus not only on body alignments, but also on staying in balance, which is even more challenging if we consider that it is an asymmetrical asana.
Rooting the feet in the ground while extending the torso to the front looking high is not only beneficial for the body, but is also a metaphor of the need to be still and grounded while aspiring to reach your goal, your mission. This balance of opposing forces opens up the chance find internal and external balance: aspiring to reach something bigger, a stronger connection or satisfaction with our Selves while staying down to earth, in peace with the outer world.
Finally, Triangle pose helps opening hips, which are a region of the body where blocks due to stress, anxiety, frustration tend to deposit, creating blocks and stiffness both on the physical and on the emotional level. Spending a few minutes each time you practice Triangle pose will help you bring those emotions to surface, releasing stress and anxiety, with great benefits for your body and mind!