Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana), wonderful for shoulders and chest

The triangle pose is also known as the triangle stretch, and is a great way to stretch your shoulders and chest. The triangle pose is a tri-legged pose, where it strengthens the core.
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Origins of Triangle pose

The origins of the triangle pose can be traced back to the ancient yogis of India. Referred to by the Sanskrit term trikonasana, the pose is a fundamental element of the ashtanga yoga tradition. The goal of Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) is to create a deep and long backbend and keep your hip joints open

The triangle pose is also known as the triangle stretch, and is a great way to stretch your shoulders and chest. The triangle pose is a tri-legged pose, where it strengthens the core. The three points of contact in the pose should be the feet, hands, and shoulders.

woman executing triangle pose gracefully

The hands should be directly under the shoulders and the arms should be perpendicular to the floor. The Triangle pose is also a wonderful way for you to increase flexibility in the hip flexor/extensor muscles.

In this pose, the hips are maintained by the use of a wide stance and is great to use in the beginning of class. As the arms and legs are extended and the core.


The Triangle Pose (also known as the Triangle of Yoga) is described as the “third position” of the series of poses to be learned in yoga. It is a very challenging pose, but it’s a safe place for you to start. The Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) is a great pose to learn the basic concepts of yoga.

As mentioned before, it is challenging to execute but it can be done safely. In yoga, the Triangle pose is used to increase your flexibility in the hip flexor/extensor muscles. The hips are kept in a slightly forward position, and the legs are extended and the pose is used as a counterbalance to the Warrior II pose, which is also known as the warrior pose. The Triangle pose can be used as an in-class warm up to the Warrior II pose.

Step by step instructions

woman in triangle pose

Triangle can be reached in a variety of ways. It’s easier to enter from Warrior II because your feet are already in the right place. For this transition, you shouldn’t need to widen or restrict your stance. Straighten your front leg from Warrior II onwards (the right leg in this case).

  1. Pull your right femur in its socket by using the quadriceps of your right thigh. Keep your right hip tucked as you extend your right hand toward the front of the room.
  2. Your right hand needs to be lowered onto your shin or ankle. Bring your right hand to the floor on the inside or on the right foot if you’re more open. Choose the option that feels most natural to you.
  3. As you open your chest and raise your left fingertips toward the ceiling, keep your left shoulder grounded in the socket. Your left shoulder should stack on top of the right.
  4. Move your gaze up to your left fingertips by turning your head. It’s also good to retain your head in a more relaxed position if this is bothersome for your neck.
  5. Contract the muscles in your right thigh and increasing the crease in your right hip.
  6. To avoid straining, gradually soften your right knee (a micro-bend).
  7. Hold this position at least 5 breaths.
  8. Do the pose again from the beginning, this time bringing your left leg forward.

Common mistakes

Crossing ankles

When you first begin learning a new pose, it is common to make mistakes. One of the most common mistakes you can make in Utthita Trikonasana is crossing your ankles instead of keeping them wide apart.

This can be a difficult habit to break, but it is important to keep your hips large and open to prevent a flat back. It is common to feel a stretch in the groin, lower back, and inner thighs when you keep your hips large and open.

Right knee extension

To get your right hand to the floor, fight the impulse to bend your right knee. It’s more vital to keep your right leg straight. A solution is to place a block on the floor under your hand. Also, avoid resting your hand against your knee, since this puts too much strain on your joint.

Body alignment

Be careful of leaning forward exessively, and collapsing your back. Doing this will make you physically uncomfortable, when you performing this pose. Also, make sure you engage your ab muscles, and avoid hunching your shoulders.

woman practicing triangle pose

You should always keep your back straight, focus on your feet, and keep your knees soft and open. Also, when you are in the pose, make sure to keep your chest lifted and shoulders away from your ears.

Do you need a change in the position?

Don’t give up if you find this yoga stance tough at first. It’s one you’ll come across again and again. Consider modifying the stance and then changing things around to enhance the difficulty and challenge yourself once you’ve mastered it.

Do you want to take on a challenge?

  • Drop your left arm over your left ear, parallel to the floor, while keeping your shoulder rooted in the socket.
  • Wrap your left arm behind your back and place your left hand on your inner right thigh. This produces traction, allowing you to open your chest even broader toward the sky.
  • Remove the weight from your right hand and hover it over the floor to improve your balance and activate your core.

Tips to lighten or deepen the pose

Here are some variations to try and see what fits you best:

  • To help with stability, press your back torso against a wall.
  • Students with more flexibility can line the front heel with the back foot’s arch.
  • To deepen the stretch, raise your top arm over your upper ear and extend your arm to be parallel to the floor. Doing so will intensify the side stretch.
  • If you feel that it is a bit too difficult to hold the pose, you can press your back heel against the wall for added stability.
  • To also give yourself further support, you can simply get a block to lean your bottom hand on.

Precautions to consider

  • If you suffer from physical injuries, such as in your back, neck, hips, or shoulders injury, you should preferably avoid this pose for your own health.
  • If you should find yourself ailed with a headache, a migraine, diarrhea, or even if you are pregnant, you should avoid doing it.
  • Ultimately if you are suffering from any ailment, you need to consult your physician to see if Triangle Pose is appropriate for you.
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