One of my favourite poses in Yoga is the Utthita Trikonasana, or the Extended Triangle pose. Not only was it the first pose I did when I started yoga, it has many benefits that can be reaped when done correctly.

For the purpose of clarity, this article should assume that the Utthita Trikonasana is done on the right side. The directions should be changed if you’re going down on the left.

Getting into the pose
1. Most Yoga poses start on the right; this is no exception. Beginning with a big step using your right leg, stand with the legs about 2 hip widths apart.
2. Following which, imagine that an invisible force is pulling your right hand, elongate the spine and stretch the upper body to the right, keeping the hips square and still.
3. After the body is leaning to the right, drop the right hand and raise the left one, like you’re a giant windmill turning along an axis.
4. If you’re super flexible, try to reach down to grab your big toe. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to rest your hands anywhere along the right leg. A stretch should be felt along your left side.
5. Hold for 5 deep breaths before coming up and bringing your right leg back with the left one.
6. Put your hands in prayer position.
7. Repeat on the other side.

Things to watch out for
Although straightforward, there are plenty of things that can go wrong whilst doing this pose.

1. Ensure that your hips are square
Sometimes while in Utthita Trikonasana, people tend to move one side of their hips forward due to the stretch of the pose. Thus, to counter the problem of the misaligned hip, you can try to stand against a wall and push your hips back so both sides of your bum touches the wall.
2. Shoulders alignment
Another problem that some might face will be insufficient twist of the shoulder. It is important to ensure that the upper limb is perpendicular to the floor to attain the best stretch. This problem can also be easily solved by practicing against a wall and pushing your shoulders back.
3. Knees should be straight
Sometimes, due to tight muscles in the hamstring, the knees will bend a little, especially on the right side if you’re leaning towards the right and vice versa. When this happens, try to raise the hand that’s pointing down slightly and rest it at a higher position along the leg. Ultimately, form is still more important than how far one can reach. With time, you can build flexibility and be able to hold the final form.
4. Ensure that your back is straight
It is important to make sure that when leaning towards the right, the left rib doesn’t pop up and the side ends up curved. This can be achieved by making sure that you properly elongate the spine initially.

Once you are able to get into the proper Utthita Trikonasana pose, then you’ll be able to enjoy a wide array of benefits that this pose can bring you. These include:
1. Strengthening of the knee
2. Increased flexibility of the side
3. Improve shoulder alignments

Like many of the poses in Yoga, this pose will be greatly beneficial when done properly. Thus, I hope that everyone will be able to gain a better understand of the different Yoga poses and lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Yingjiao
200hr TTC

References:
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/494
http://www.cnyhealingarts.com/2011/06/08/the-health-benefits-of-utthita-trikonasana-extended-triangle-pose/