Triangle pose strengthens the legs, stretches the groins, hamstrings, hips, and opens the chest and shoulders. Sanskrit name: Utthita Trikonanasa (pronounced: oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna), utthita = extended, trikona = three angle or triangle.

* Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles, neck and shoulders
* Stretches the spine, chest and abdomen, hips, groins, hamstrings and calves
* Improves balance and concentration
* Broadens the pelvis
* Helps to develop a more balanced functioning between the left and right sides of the body
* Gives access to the spine through freedom of movement of the hips
* Helps relieve stress and anxiety
* Stimulates the abdominal organs
* Improves digestion, relieving constipation
* Increases blood flow to your pelvic region
* Tones and improves the function of your reproductive organs
* Therapeutic for flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica
* Relieves backache, especially through second trimester of pregnancy

Contraindications and cautions
* Diarrhea
* Headache
* Low blood pressure
* High blood pressure: turn head to gaze downward
* Heart conditions: practice against a wall, keep top arm on hip
* Neck problems: keep looking straight ahead, keep both sides of the neck evenly long
* Back problems: rest front arm higher up the leg
* Avoid locking your knees, bend your knees during the transition into the pose, keeping your thighs firm
* Do not rest your hand directly on the knee as this creates too much pressure on the knee

Step by step

1. Stand with your feet approximately 3 to 3 ½ feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Spread the fingers and look along the right arm.

2. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and turn your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and rotate your inner right thigh outward, so that the center of the right kneecap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

3. Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tail bone toward the back heel.

4. Rest your right hand on your thigh, shin or ankle. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

5. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, keeping your thighs firm and press the back heel strongly into the floor while reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Place your back heel or the back of your torso against a wall if you feel unsteady in the pose.

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Bassam Younes

Bassam Younes is a certified holistic counselor, transformational coach, and speaker. He has been teaching meditation for seven years.

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