By Sejal Shah
A wonderful standing pose for relieving back pain, triangle pose (trikonasana) can also help improve your digestion and your balance. Enjoy!
Triangle pose, or trikonasana (TREE-kone-AA-SUN-aa), is a posture that activates and strengthens the entire body and encourages better balance. This standing yoga pose gets its name from the Sanskrit words, trikona, meaning triangle, and asana, meaning pose.
Level of difficulty: Beginner
Start by standing in facing the long edge of your yoga mat. Separate your feet 3-4 feet apart, feeling strong in your thighs and hip joints.
Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in 15 degrees, or you can have your left foot facing forward.
Align the center of your right heel with the center of the arch of your left foot.
Ensure that the outer edges of your right foot and left foot are pressing firmly into the mat, and keep your weight equally balanced between both feet. Engage your right thigh muscles, keep your knees soft, and pull your right knee cap gently upwards.
Breathing in, extend your arms parallel to the floor at shoulder height.
Breathing out, extend your upper body on the right side. Breathing out, fold at your right hip, bending your body to the right and lowering it down. Let your head, chest, and pelvis face forward. Raise your left arm straight up into the air, and extend your right arm down towards the floor. Keep the left shoulder stacked above the right shoulder.
Comfortably rest your right hand on the shin, ankle, or knee of your right leg, or on the yoga mat beside your right foot if you are doing extended triangle pose. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position, or turn it to the left, with eyes gazing softly at the left palm.
Make sure that your body is bent sideways and not backward or forward. Tilt the pelvis backward if necessary to keep it from drifting forward on your extended side. Open your upper body to the sky.
Focus your gaze, and stay in triangle pose for 5-10 breaths.
As you inhale, come up, bringing your arms down to your sides.
Repeat triangle pose on the opposite side, extending your right arm up and your left hand down.
Benefits of triangle pose
Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, chest, and back
Stretches and opens the hips, groin, pelvis, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine
Tones abdominal muscles and massages abdominal organs
Encourages mental and physical equilibrium
Enhances overall balance
Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain, and sciatica
Precautions and contraindications
Those with high blood pressure may practice this pose, but without raising the right arm or left arm overhead, as doing so may further increase blood pressure.
Avoid practicing this pose if you have:
Neck, spine, or back injuries
Modifications and variations
To make it easier
If unable to touch the yoga mat with your bottom hand, place a yoga block next to your front ankle for support.
To modify triangle pose
If you have high blood pressure, turn your head to gaze at the floor in the last stage of the triangle pose.
If you have a heart condition, practice this posture against a wall, making sure the top arm stays on the top hip.
If you have any neck problems, don't turn your head to look upward or downward. Instead, keep your eyes gazing straight ahead, with both sides of your neck extended comfortably to the same length.
To make it more challenging
Extended triangle pose (Utthita trikonasana)
This pose requires nearly the same setup and execution as regular triangle pose, except the stance is wider to open the pelvis more, and the hand placement varies slightly. For instance, if you can reach your left foot with your left hand, grab your big toe or place your hand flat on the ground beside the foot, rather than placing it on the shin or ankle.
Revolved triangle pose (Parivritta trikonasana)
This pose requires the same setup as regular triangle pose, but reverses the arm positions. So, if your right leg is extended forward, you will reach your left hand down and place it outside your right foot, while reaching the right arm up, and gazing up. If your left leg is extended forward you will place your right hand outside the left foot, and reach your left arm up, while gazing up. This adds a twist to the pose, further challenging our balance.
Reverse triangle pose (Viparita trikonasana):
This pose requires the same setup as regular triangle pose, but instead of folding at the hip and reaching your arm down, you will flex your neck and bring your arm up and back, placing the opposite palm on the other thigh.
Preparatory poses and follow-up poses
| Virabhadrasana (preparatory)
| Konasana (preparatory)
| Viparita Virabhadrasana (preparatory or follow-up)
Browse our entire, and learn more about each yoga pose in detail.
While a regular yoga practice can result in improved health it is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before beginning the practice of yoga. Yoga is best learned and practiced with a yoga teacher. Check out the to get started.
Take your asana practice to the next level
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Sejal Shah, E-RYT 500 Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP, C-IAYT, Meditation Teacher, Happiness expert, NYU Post Graduate Medical School approved Yoga-CME retreat facilitator, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, Homeopath. She can be followed on , , and .