Five Pillars Yoga
Via Susan J. - China

Yoga Lab: Triangle Pose

Utthita Trikonasana for Balance and Harmony

Thoughts of the long winter are long-gone as we continue to make our way toward mid-summer. As we move through this season of hot summer days, vacations and weekend getaways, sometimes we find ourselves experiencing even more chaos than usual as we try to maximize our fun in the sun. Setting five minutes aside to practice triangle posture or utthita trikonasana can remind us of the inner balance that is always available to us. Practicing the posture itself will ward off unnecessary stress and anxiety, inviting an essence of harmony back into our lives.

Extended triangle posture has incredible balancing effects on the body and mind:

  • ~ Strengthens core, stimulates abdominal organs, and helps with digestion
  • ~ Relieves stress and anxiety while improving mental clarity
  • ~ Tones and trims waistline, buttocks and thighs
  • ~ Stretches and strengthens muscles, ligaments, and joins in the feet, legs, and hips

Check out Yoga Journal’s Step-by-Step Instructions or this great 5-minute video that includes a warm up forward bend. We recommend taking triangle twice on each side, holding the round for five breaths each, and the second round for eight breaths each.

Common challenges:

  • ~ Many people experience the top shoulder rounding down and closing off the heart. Practice for a while with the top hand on the hip to get used to having the shoulders squarely open.
  • ~ People also experience some neck strain when gazing up towards the top hand. A delicious modification is to turn the gaze down towards the front foot. This subtle shift takes pressure off the neck and encourages softness graceful introspection, even in the midst of such a power posture
  • ~ Can’t quite reach the floor? No problem! Taking the hand to the shin is a wonderful option, or even better, use a block to bring the floor to you! Practicing with a block allows us to leave weight off the front leg which can be prone to hyper extension in this posture already. Plus, you can place the block on the inside or outside of the front leg, enabling you to experience different variations

As you explore trikonasana allow the shape of the posture to infuse your energetic experience of it. Firmly rooted feet and a strong foundation support a balanced torso, with arms fully extended in strength and grace. Strength, extension, reach, expansion. And above all, balance and alignment with the self.



**If you have a recent or ongoing injury to the ankles, knees, hips, or lower back, this posture may do more harm than good

** This posture, alongside other standing balancing postures, are not recommended if you have hernia.


Photo Credit – Susan J. in China