One element of yoga that I Iove is all the variations. You learn a basic pose and then switch the leg or arm positions to make a basic pose more challenging. This also helps you stretch and strengthen different parts of your body. Take Downward Facing Dog, for instance. It's a great foundation pose that stretches your calves and hamstrings, but when you lift one leg up and turn it into Three-Legged Dog, you'll stretch your hamstrings even further and challenge your core. This pose, called Open Triangle, is a variation of basic Triangle pose. When your feet are wider apart, you'll feel a deeper stretch on your hips and legs and will also be able to lengthen your spine more.
Source: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio
|Sanskrit Name: Utthita Trikonasana|
English Translation: Extended Triangle Pose
Also Called: Open Triangle
- Stand on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands, and rise up into Warrior 1. Now open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2 pose.
- Straighten your right leg and turn your left toes slightly to the right, making a 45° angle. Keep both legs straight as you reach your right hand straight out over your right leg, making your spine as long as you can. Then depending on how flexible your hamstrings are, lower your right hand down and rest it on your right shin, on a block in front of your leg, or place your palm flat on the floor if you can. Extend your left arm straight up, and gaze at your left fingertips. You are working on stretching your right hamstring here, so be sure to keep that leg straight and don't worry if you can't touch the floor yet. As you do this pose more, you'll increase your flexibility, and someday touching the floor will be a cinch.
- You want your shoulders to be stacked one on top of the other with your left hip drawing back, and engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Work on pulling your right shoulder away from your right hip crease and lengthen through both sides of the ribs equally.
- Stay here for five deep breaths. Then engage your legs, press firmly into the ground with your feet and use your lower body to lift your torso up. Rotate your feet to the left and then do this pose on the other side.