The Triangle pose is a popular strengthening position.
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The Triangle pose, or Trikonasana in Sanskrit, is a popular yoga position that stretches and strengthens your muscles. It's a standing pose, so it really works the leg, thigh and core muscles and improves your balance. There are a few variations of the pose, and some similar poses worth practicing, too.
To do the Triangle pose, stand with your feet wide -- about 3 to 4 feet apart -- and your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Turn your left foot in at a 45-degree angle and your right foot out 90 degrees, so the toes are pointing straight to the side. Bend from the hip and extend your torso to the right while pushing your hips to the left. Rest your right hand on your right shin, ankle or the floor beside your foot, either to the inside or outside. Raise your left arm up toward the ceiling, and turn your head to look up at your left hand. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, and then repeat it on the other side. This is sometimes called the Extended Triangle pose, or Utthita Trikonasana.
To deepen the stretch in your side, extend the top arm over your head instead of toward the ceiling; let it lie next to your ear, parallel to the floor. If straight legs aren't working for you, bend the front knee; either brace your bent elbow on that knee, or extend your lower arm so your fingertips touch the floor. This variation is often used in Bikram, or hot yoga.
For a Twisted Triangle, or Revolved Triangle, pose -- Parivrtta Trikonasana in Sanskrit -- turn your torso the opposite way from what you do with Extended Triangle. So when your right leg is in front, twist your body to the right and place your left hand on the outside of your right foot. Now it will be your right hand stretching toward the ceiling, and your head turning to look up at your right hand.
For a Bound Triangle pose, whether standard or Revolved, reach your upper arm behind your back and your lower arm under your front thigh until your hands meet in the back. Clasp your hands together if you can, or use a yoga strap if they don't quite reach. Other similar poses to the Triangle that you might like to explore are the Side Bend and Pyramid pose.
The Triangle pose teaches three core physical principles: stability, expansion and evenness. It stretches the thighs, hips, hamstrings, knees, calves and ankles, as well as the neck, shoulders, chest and back. The posture also stimulates the internal organs in the abdomen, improving digestion and relieving symptoms of menopause. At the same time, you'll be improving your physical and mental balance and stability while reducing stress and anxiety.
If you find it hard to do the pose without arching your back or losing your balance, place a yoga block to the outside of your forward ankle and place your hand on the block. You can position the block upright, on its side or lying down, depending how much extra reach you need. If you choose to use a higher hand position -- such as on your shin -- you can place your back heel or your entire torso against a wall for added stability.