When sequencing externally rotated standing poses, we will often enter Extended Triangle aka Utthita Trikonasana after Warrior II, taken that the position of the feet, legs, hips and torso are virtually the same with the difference of a straight front leg and a side stretch of the torso.
How to get into the pose:
- Step your feet about 4 feet apart. From deep within the hip socket, rotate the front leg out to align the front foot parallel to the long end of your mat. Pivit the back heel out, and align your front heel with your back arch.
- Root down through the back foot and straighten the leg. Keep a microbend in your front knee, align the knee with your second toe and root down through the big toe mound of your front foot.
- Let your hips open naturally. While both frontal hip points aim towards the long end of your mat, most hips won`t allow for a shape where the hips align parrallel, but rather the back hip will come slightly forward.
- Extend your arms in line with your legs and reach out through the fingertips.
- Lengthen both sides of the waist evenly, reaching the crown of the head towards the sky.
- Draw the back shoulder back as you bring the front shoulder forward to parallel the torso to the long end of your mat.
- On an exhalation, reach the front hand forward, hinging from the crease of the front hip and extending the torso sideways. Keep both sides of your waist evenly long and the shoulders stacked over each other.
- When you can not reach any further, lower the front hand down to rest on the outside of your front leg directly underneath your shoulder on the mat or a block. Externally rotate the arm by drawing the skin of the upper arm back towards your waist.
- Extend your top arm skywards, aligned with your shoulders. From deep within the shoulder socket, rotate the top arm externally by drawing the pinky finger side of your hand slightly forward of the thumb side.
- Keeping the back of the neck long, direct your gaze down for stability or, if your neck is healthy, up towards your top hand.
Key actions while you are in the pose:
- Press down through the mound of the front big toe as you turn the inner thigh to the outer thigh until the knee tracks with the second toe.
- Press down through the ball of the front foot as you firm the outer thigh and hip toward the inner thigh.
- Resist the calf of the front leg into the shin as you lift the quadriceps and kneecap up.
- Energetically draw the feet together to activate your inner thigh muscles.
- Firm the front buttock under as you press the back thigh back.
- Lift the frontal hip bones up and lengthen the buttocks towards your back heel.
- Extend through the top of the sternum as you release the bottom front ribs toward the hip bones.
- Press the shoulderblades into the chest and spread the collarbones.
- Reach from the breastbone to the fingertips.
- Soften the area where your neck and shoulders meet and extend the sides of the neck evenly.