Friday, May 1, 2015

May Pose of the Month

Laura DeMent, RYT

May's Pose of the Month is Utthita Trikonasana, Extended Triangle Pose. This pose is known to most of you simply as Triangle Pose. When asked why she chose Trikonasana as her pose to share, Laura responded, "Trikonasana is an 'island pose' for me.  That means if I was stuck on an island and could only practice a few poses while I was there, I would pick Triangle as one of the poses.  It is a perfect balance of stretch and strength.  I love the way it opens my hips, stretches my back and strengthens my legs."

Practice Utthita Trikonasana at home:

1. Step your feet wide (3-4 feet) and extend your arms up to shoulder height. Check that your ankles are directly under your wrists, if not, adjust accordingly.

2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees (so that it's pointing toward the top of your mat), and turn your left foot in 35 to 45 degrees (to the right).

3. On an exhalation, extend your torso to the right, directly over the plane of your front leg. Hinge at your right hip crease and let your right hand drop to your shin, your ankle, or the floor behind your right foot.

4. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling with your shoulders stacked. Turn your left palm in the same direction as your face and turn your gaze toward your left thumb.

5. Breathe evenly, in and out, through your nose. Hold the pose for 5-7 breaths, then hinge up to standing on an inhalation. Repeat on left side.

Benefits of Trikonasana (from

  • Stretches and strengthens the entire leg from the hip to the ankle.
  • Stretches side body
  • Stimulates abdominal organs.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Relieves back ache.
  • Therapeutic for anxiety 
As the complete name of the pose indicates, Utthita Trikonasana is a pose of extension. In addition to the strong extension in the legs, the sides of the waist should be equally extended. To help extend your torso, Laura shares this advice, "My tip to lengthen the torso in Triangle is to drop your bottom ribs toward the floor." 

She adds, "I have had a hard time with my neck in this pose.  I had a teacher tell me to make my head parallel to the floor, then move the skull back in space, then turn to look up toward my thumb.  This set of instructions made a big difference for the comfort of my neck in Triangle."

Unroll your mat and give Utthita Trikonasana a try today!

Laura's teaching is inspired by her teachers, Seane Corn, Chris Crews, Frank Mauro, Ramanand Patel and Laura Spaulding. Her classes focus on alignment, breath, flow and the use of props to make the asanas (postures) accessible to all students.


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