Relieve Tight Hamstrings with Triangle Pose

Pose: Triangle Pose

Sanskrit Name: Utthita Trikonasana

How do I prepare for the pose? 


 Two blocks. Two sandbags. A wall or a version of wall. 

Pranayama – Breath work

Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself in the present moment.

Step one = Align

Align your body, heart, and mind with your intention. 

Pause and reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)? 

Step two = Energize 

Read How do I practice the pose? first.  Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly. Once you get a sense of the directions in the pose, feel the positive emotion(s) and match that with your intention. Breathe mindfully. Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes, disconnect from the world, and feel the positive emotion(s) you want to feel.

Step three = Heal 

Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to unlearn imbalanced movement patterns and relearn balanced movement patterns to relieve tightness in your hamstrings.  

Caution If your hamstrings are over stretching or hurting at any point, mindfully exit the pose the opposite way you entered.

How do I practice the pose? 

Align. Set your intention. 

  • Prop-assistance. Set out the mat parallel to the wall. Place a sandbag at each end of the mat. 
  • Stand in the middle of the mat, facing the center of the room.
  • Step or jump your feet to the sides of the mat, approximately 4 feet wide.  
  • Turn your right foot parallel with the edge of the mat and turn your left foot in.
  • Prop-assistance. Place the sandbags on your feet to connect and ground yourself with the earth. 
  • Prop-assistance. Keep both legs fluid while setting up the blocks. Place the first block between your front lower thigh (just above your knee) and the wall. See what width of the block works best for you. Medium width usually works the best. Press into the block.
  • Prop-assistance. Place the second block between the back leg (mid-thigh) and the wall. Press into the block. 

Energize the feet, shins, and inner thighs to power up the lower core. 

  • Press the big toes down and spread out the toes of both feet. 
  • Squeeze the inner thighs towards the midline to activate the lower core. 
  • Resist the front shin up. 
  • Resist the front thigh back. This activates the quadricep (front of the thigh) muscles and lifts the kneecap up allowing the hamstrings to lengthen. 

Energize upper core strength and fluidity. 

  • Take both arms out to side, shoulder height.
  • Externally rotate the upper arms and draw the shoulder blades down the back. Engage the rhomboids (inner shoulder blades) by gently pulling the inner shoulder blade towards the spine. 
  • Internally rotate the forearms by turning the palms down.  
  • Lift the sides of the torso from the outer hips to the armpits.

Heal. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. 

Energize the feet, shins, and legs to activate the lower core.

  • Laterally flex the hips to the right side and rotate the torso slightly to the left, keeping both sides of the spine long and engaged.
  • Place your right hand on your front thigh or shin and resist up into your hand. This action engages your quadricep muscles (front thigh muscles) to lengthen your hamstring muscles. 
  • Stay engaged in the back foot, shin, and leg. 

Heal. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

  • On each exhalation, rotate the torso upward, near the location of the diaphragm.
  • Gently twist your cervical vertebrae (neck) and head upward. 

Exit the pose.

  • To exit the pose, press firmly through both feet.
  • Press into the blocks at the wall to keep the thighs engaged and lower core activated. 
  • Inhale and lift out of the pose.  
  • Remove the props.  
  • Turn towards the left and repeat the pose. 

Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully.

  • Exhale and let go of what no longer serves you: pain, tension, tightness, anxiety, fear, sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity, separation, and so forth.
  • Inhale and feel what you want to bring into your future: suppleness, flexibility, strength, freedom, joy, happiness, peace, vitality, loving-kindness, inclusivity, connection, unity, understanding, abundance, love, wealth, good health, gratitude, and so forth.  
  • Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

How do I exit the pose? 

  • First exhale and then inhale as you exit the pose. 
  • Return to Mountain and feel the effects of the pose.
  • Repeat the pose on the second side with opposite directions. 


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