Uttitha Trikonasana

The extended triangle, or Uttitha Trikonasana, is considered a basic asana and is suitable for most beginners. I chose a basic asana to share as the asana may look simple and highly achievable for most people, but a well-aligned Trikonasana actually requires the coordination of the entire body.

It is an enlivening pose as it stretches out the entire spine, extends both hands, opens the hips and requires solid legs as your base. For people who have a misaligned spine and bad posture, the extended triangle is a good corrector as well.

Step 1: Step the feet wide apart. To gauge how far your feet should be apart from each other, extend both hands to the side of your body and the right distance between your feet should be directly under your wrists. Have a strong foundation by activation your quadriceps and lifting your kneecaps.

Step 2: Turn the right thigh, knee and foot out and they should be parallel to your entire body. The back foot should remain perpendicular to your body.

Step 3: With an inhale, reach the right hand to the front of your body as far as possible touch your fingertips to your right toes.

(For yogis who are unable to touch their toes, place the right hand lightly in the right knee, shin or ankle.)

Step 4: Once the right hand is firmly in position, take another breath and as you exhale, turn the left shoulder backwards, opening your chest, and reach your left fingertips towards the ceiling.

At this point, to check your alignment, imagine the back of your body to be in one single plane. If you place your back against a wall, your shoulders, head and buttocks should be slightly touching the wall, indicating proper alignment.

Step 5: Once you feel that your pose is stable and comfortable, continue to turn your navel and chest towards the ceiling and start gazing at your left fingertips.

(As a variation, if the neck is uncomfortable, gaze directly ahead of you or down to the floor.)

Step 6: To release from the pose, allow the upper body to lift up to standing while continuing to hold a firm foundation.

Repeat on the opposite side.