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How to Do the Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana) and Reverse (Parivritta Trikonasana) Postures in Yoga

The triangle postures are very useful if you plan to practice Yoga. The Sanskrit word utthita (pronounced oot-hee-tah) for triangle posture means “raised” and trikona (pronounced tree-ko-nah) means “triangle.” The latter term is often mispronounced as try-ko-nah. The Sanskrit word parivritta (pronounced pah-ree-vree-tah) means “revolved,” which makes perfect sense with this the reversed triangle posture.

Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)

The triangle posture in Yoga stretches the sides of your spine, the backs of your legs, and your hips. It also stretches the muscles between your ribs (the intercostals), which opens the chest and improves breathing capacity. Just follow these steps:

  1. Stand in the mountain posture, exhale, and step out to the right about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (or the length of one leg) with your right foot.

  2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot 45 degrees.

    An imaginary line drawn from the right heel (toward the left foot) should bisect the arch of the left foot.

  3. Face forward and, as you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of the shoulders (and the floor) so that they form a T with the torso.

  4. As you exhale, reach your right hand down to your right shin as close to the ankle as is comfortable for you and then reach and lift your left arm up.

    Bend your right knee slightly if the back of your leg feels tight. As much as you can, bring the sides of your torso parallel to the floor.

  5. Soften your left arm and look up at your left hand.

    If your neck hurts, look down or halfway down at the floor.

  6. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 three times and then stay in Step 5 for 6 to 8 breaths.

    Repeat the same sequence on the left side.

Note: In the classic version of this posture, the feet are parallel, the arms and legs are straight, and the trunk is parallel to the floor. The right hand is on the floor outside the right foot.

image0.jpg

Reverse triangle posture (Parivritta trikonasana)

The action of twists, including the reverse triangle, on the discs between the spinal vertebrae (intervertebral discs) is often compared to squeezing and then releasing a wet sponge.

First you squeeze the dirty water out and then you sponge up the clean water. The twisting-untwisting action increases circulation of fresh blood to these discs and keeps them supple as you grow older. The reverse triangle also stretches the backs of your legs, opens your hips, and strengthens your neck, shoulders, and arms. Here’s how it works:

  1. Standing in the mountain posture, exhale and step the right foot out to the right about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (or the length of one leg).

  2. As you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of the shoulders (and the floor) so that they form a T with the torso.

  3. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips and then place the right hand on the floor near the inside of the left foot.

  4. Raise your left arm toward the ceiling and look up at your left hand.

    Soften your knees and your arms. Bend your left knee or move your right hand away from your left foot (and more directly under your torso) if necessary. If you feel neck strain, turn your head toward the floor.

  5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 three times and then stay in Step 4 for 6 to 8 breaths.

    Repeat the same sequence on the left side.

    image1.jpg

Note: In the classic version of this posture, the feet are parallel and the legs and arms are straight. The torso is parallel to the floor and the bottom hand rests lightly outside the opposite side foot.

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