Extended Triangle Pose, or Trikonasana, is a pose which both strengthens and stretches. At the same time, it encourages focus and body awareness since it is an excellent opener and stimulant of the Heart Chakra.
1.) Begin in Mountain Pose, standing straight with your hands by your side, feet together.
2.) Raise your hands above your head.
3.) In one sweeping motion step your right foot out about 3-4 feet so that it is parallel with your left foot on the mat, at the same time extend both of your arms to shoulder height parallel to the mat forming one horizontal line; keep your arms engaged with your palms facing down.
4.) Turn your right foot so that it is pointing forward.
5.) Tilt your hips back.
6.) Lengthen your upper body over your right foot and slowly lower your right arm down to the inside of your right ankle.
7.) Look up to your left arm pointing to the sky.
8.) To deepen the stretch, move your left arm, keeping it engaged, to a 45-degree angle over your head.
9.) To release from the pose, reverse your movements. Reverse sides.
Many may not be aware of this but Extended Triangle Pose is a powerful abdominal strengthener. Your entire core must work to stabilize the rest of the body. The engagement of the core increases blood flow to the digestive organ and improves digestion.
Extended Triangle Pose provides a great stretch to the hamstrings, quadriceps as well as psoas muscles, opening the hips at the same time.
Extended Triangle Pose is a potent heart opener - it extends the chest, stretches the muscles of the shoulder girdle, creating more space within the mediastinum. Such a combination allows easier breathing as well as opens the Heart Chakra, connecting us with our inner energy.
As mentioned above, Extended Triangle Pose is a powerful stimulant of the Heart Chakra, meaning it lets us connect with our core and our very essence. It makes us focus and become more self aware. A mild balancing pose, Extended Triangle Pose encourages focus and concentration.
To try a bit of a different type of stretch, place the hand on the outer side of the extended leg in place of on its inner side. This way, you can twist your torso to the opposite direction as in the standard pose, following the lower arm. Eyes gaze to the side.
To open the heart more deeply and get a much deeper stretch of the upper body, try out this variation of Extended Triangle Pose. Namely, starting from the standard position, move the posterior leg behind, away from the front leg, not changing its alignment. From there, replace your hand on the ground to the level of the foot of the posterior leg. This way, if your torso will follow, the upper body will extend much, much more. Adjust the level of expansion to your own personal needs and goals.
To concentrate on stretching a particular shoulder, this variation is for you. Starting from the standard position, realign your raised arm so that it is parallel to the ground, the fingers pointing forward in the same direction as the crown of the head. Adjust the level of the stretch as you wish and feel comfortable.