utthita = extended
trikona = three angle or triangle
asana = posture
“Extend your side body, and open your life to a full breath!” Shanell
Utthita Trikonasana is the pose I go to when I am feeling tight in my hips and side body. I often notice this tightness as I practice my pranayama or when I try to hold my growing son on my hip. Which by the way, holding him won’t be happening for much longer! If you spend a lot of time driving or sitting and experience lower back pain or hip tightness, Trikonasana is a great pose to go to to lengthen out those side-body muscles.
If you are a beginner or find trouble balancing’ try this pose with your back heel or back of torso braced against a wall. This will help steady your body as you move deeper into the pose.
It is important, before you enter Trikonasana, to begin with a comfortable and solid stride. Stand lengthwise on your mat with your feet parallel. A good distance between the feet is three to four feet apart. Turn your front foot forward so it faces the top of your mat. Align your front heel with your back heel. To make sure your stride is appropriate for your height, bend your front knee until it is directly over your heel. Your front thigh should be parallel to the floor. Adjust your stride until this happens. If your legs and pelvis are less flexible and you can’t bring your front thigh parallel to the floor without distorting your feet or straining your legs, knees, or lower back, take a shorter stride.
Moving from a strong solid foundation is important. Now you are ready to move into Trikonasana. Bring your arms into a T position at shoulder height. Inhale deeply and lengthen your spine by reaching your crown towards the sky. As you exhale, reach your front arm forward. All your limbs are lengthening in different directions. Take another inhale and as you crease at the hip and bend to place your front palm on your shin, right below the knee. Look up to the palm that is extending towards the sky. Re-ground your back heal and outside of the back foot into the mat. Lift your top hip away from the front of your thigh. It is important not to collapse into your bottom ribs. Think of lengthening through both side bodies.
And a very important reminder….DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE! Your breath will increase the opening that occurs in your side-body. In addition, a calm breath will power you thru to hold this pose!
Have fun practicing!
From my open heart to yours,