The Triangles are excellent postures for both new and experienced yoga practitioners. The asana helps students build a combination of strength, flexibility, balance and mental focus, when practiced regularly.

Utthita Trikonasana translates to Extended Triangle Pose and Parivrtta Trikonasana, Revolved Triangle Pose.  These postures are the third and fourth poses of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series.  They come after Padangusthasana and Pada Hastasana.

Benefits of Utthita Trikonasana:

  • Strengthens the legs and back. 
  • Stretches inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, chest and opens hips. 
  • Energizes, balances and improves focus.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs. 
  • Increases stability by activating core muscle that assist with your balance and stability.
  • Opens the hips and shoulders, increasing overall mobility.
  • Stimulates your organs by activating your core
  • Reduces stress

Benefits of Parivrtta Trikonasana:

  • Improves balance, mobility and range of motion and your body’s natural alignment.
  • Strengthens, stretches and lengthens the legs, feet, ankles, glutes, calves and abdominal muscles.
  • Facilitates movement in the abdominal organs, helping digestion.
  • Increases flexibility in the hamstrings, shoulders and upper back.
  • Improves focus and body awareness.
  • Improves circulation throughout the body.

The triangle poses are dynamic postures that helps to improve our posture by strengthening the muscles that support postural alignment, including the back, core, psoas, and quadriceps.  When done properly, these yoga asanas will lengthen the front and back of the body, creating a more natural upright posture.

​Revolved triangle posture also massages the internal organs of the body, which can aid in improving digestion. And my favorite benefit to practicing this posture is the mental focus necessary to do the triangles while maintaining balance and tensegrity.  It’s hard to maintain incredible focus on the breathe and bandhas and body position, but with consistent practice, doing this asana builds strong mental focus!

Over time, the triangles help students gain more overall body awareness, balance, focus and mental strength.  Below you’ll find instructions for practicing this posture, both the full expression and modifications that will safely help you build up the full expression of these asanas over time.  Start with the modifications so they assist you in keeping your back flat, your head up, the front of your body long and over time you’ll build the strength necessary to practice the full expression with ease.

Contraindications:
The full expression of Parivrtta Trikonasana, revolved triangle, is NOT recommended if you are pregnant.  Some women will find they can easily still do this asana while pregnant, but the spinal rotation puts too much pressure on your abdominal wall and therefore is better done in a modification form during pregnancy.

These are wonderful standing postures but can be quite a challenge if you have tightness in your back or hips, or weakness in your core or back.  There is a lot to think about in the posture, oppositions of force, lengthening, engaging, reaching while breathing and engaging your bandhas.  Let’s take a step by step look at how to do the Triangle Postures.

Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video on 2 modifications/variations and the full expression of Utthita Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Full Expression of Utthita Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana

The Primary Series Sequence is a brilliant flow from posture to posture whereby each practiced asana prepares you for the ones to follow.  You will begin adding these yoga poses into your primary series practice right after you finish Padangusthasana and Pada Hastasana.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose):

Step 1: Ekam, Inhale – Step your feet wide apart, arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height. Turn your right foot out to 90 degrees, and pivot your left foot slightly inwards.

Step 2: Dve, Exhale – Reach your right hand down and grab your big toe with your index, middle finger and thumb.  Keep your left hand pointing upwards towards the sky. Hold for 5 breaths.

Step 3: Trini, Inhale – Come up, arms extended, torso facing the right side.

Step 4: Chaturi, Exhale – Turn your left foot out to the left, right foot slightly inwards and reach your left hand down towards and grab your big toe with your index, middle finger and thumb.  Keep your right hand pointing upwards towards the sky. Hold for 5 breaths. Focus on your bandhas and gaze to your fingers (hastagri drishti).

Step 5: Pancha, Inhale – Come up, with both arms extended.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose):

Step 6: Dve, Exhale – Rotate your body back to the right, square your hips and reach your left hand  down towards the floor on the outside of your right foot (if you can’t get your palm flat with a straight leg, bend your right knee slightly and place your left hand to the inside of your foot). Simultaneously, rotate your torso towards the right, opening up your chest towards the sky. You are looking up to your fingers, hastagrai drishti. Hold for 5 breaths.

Step 7: Trini, Inhale – Come up, arms extended, torso facing the right side.

Step 8: Chaturi, Exhale – Reverse your feet so your left leg is facing forward with your right foot turned slightly inwards. Square your hips and reach your right hand  down towards the floor on the outside of your left foot (if you can’t get your palm flat with a straight leg, bend your left knee slightly and place your right hand to the inside of your foot). Simultaneously, rotate your torso towards the left, opening up your chest towards the sky. You are looking up to your fingers, hastagrai drishti. Hold for 5 breaths.

Step 9: Pancha – Inhale, Come up with both arms exteneded.

Step 10: Exhale back to Samasthiti.

Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video on 2 modifications and the full expression of Utthita Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Modifications for the Triangle Poses:
While the step by step instructions are for getting into the full expression of Utthita Trikonasana, there are several wonderful variations or modifications you can take to start where you are and safely work towards the full expression of the posture.

Never feel ashamed of starting with modifications for yoga postures.  It is far safer to work with modifications to build the strength and flexibility necessary to execute postures correctly.  If you find you have weakness and/or limited flexibility in your back, hip flexors or hamstrings you will find it difficult to keep your back straight in the full expression of Boat Pose.

Utthita Trikonasana Modifications:

If you are unable to grab your big toe with your index, middle finger and thumb, instead place your hand on your shin and actively grip your hand around your shin to activate the muscles of your arm, initiating tensegrity in your upper limb.

If you are unable to keep your front leg straight when you grab your big toe with your fingers, consider grabbing your shin with your hand instead, for now.  Many people will unintentionally hyper extend their front knee in order to achieve a straight leg.  You don’t want to do that.  It puts undue pressure on the knee, and cuts off your body’s tensegrity, which is so vital for building strength in your limbs.

Parivrtta Trikonasana Modifications:
If you are unable to bring your hand to the floor with a straight leg, try keeping your front knee bent and bringing your hand to the inside of your foot, instead of the outside.  This will give you far far more stability and control in your body as you work to open and balance.  Spread the fingers of the hand on the ground and press down into it as you reach your lifted arm higher into the air.  Push your front foot down and forward and your back foot down and backward to feel your glutes and hips activate to stabilize your pelvis.  Over time, the hip flexors will lengthen allowing you to straighten both legs in this posture.  Once you can do that, its as simple as gently placing your hand to the outside of your foot while maintaining opposition of force.

Common Mistakes
Don’t allow the aesthetic of the posture to compromise your body position.   It is FAR more important to keep your spine extended and your bottom hand pressing into the floor than to have both legs straight legs or your hand to the outside of your foot. When you find yourself feeling unbalanced, be sure to take a modification of the posture to ensure you can balance and keep working to traction your spine in space. It’s perfectly ok if your front knee needs to bend to allow your spine to straighten.

Remember to approach your practice with mindfulness and respect for your body’s limitations. It’s always wise to seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare professional if you have any health concerns or injuries.

With dedicated practice and attention to proper alignment, Utthita Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana can help you cultivate strength, flexibility, and balance in both body and mind. Embrace the journey of Ashtanga Yoga, and may your practice flourish with grace and devotion!

Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video on 2 modifications and the full expression of Utthita Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Practice with The Yoga Shala
If you want to join us for LIVE classes, The Yoga Shala offers virtual and in person classes every weekday morning.  Owner, Krista Shirley, also offers virtual or in person private sessions (Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship).  Visit theyogashala.org for details.

Be sure to signup for our newsletter to stay on top of local events and classes, Nysa products sales, new offerings, new products and more!

We hope you find this video series helpful to you in creating or maintaining your yoga practice!


About KristaKrista Shirley is a level II authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher.  She is deeply passionate about sharing these teachings with all who wish to learn.

If you want to join Krista in person she teaches daily classes at The Yoga Shala in Winter Park, Florida. She also offers virtual sessions in Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship.  Check out www.theyogashala.org for more details.

If you do not live in Central Florida and want to find an authorized teacher in your area, check out our teacher, Sharath Jois’ website, for a list of all teachers authorized and certified by his yoga centre in India.


YOGA ASANA SERIES

❤️SHOP MERCHANDISE: Nysa Products

❤️LET’S BE SOCIAL:
Instagram: Krista Shirley Yoga
Instagram: The Yoga Shala
Facebook: The Yoga Shala
Facebook: KristaShirleyYoga

For other inquires please contact:  krista@theyogashala.org