Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles

Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, Three Limbs Stretch

Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

,is the intensified version of

the basic Paschimottanasana,

as here before performing a similar

forward bend in the sitting position,

one of the legs is folded at the knee,

and the thigh is placed over the  calf

with the heel of the foot touching the same hip from the side. The  hamstring muscles of the folded leg are prevented from extending, as is required to facilitate the forward bend in Paschimottanasana,  which necessitates extra effort, or intensifies the forward bending of  the torso region on to the extended leg. Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana as derived to English from Sanskrit  is explained as;

Tri – Three

Anga – Limbs ( Hips, knees, and feet)

Mukha – The face ( the face touches the extended leg)

Ika – One

Pada – foot

Paschim – West ( back side of the body)

uttan – Intense stretch

Asana – Yoga pose

Put together, the meaning would amount to Intense three limb stretch, in a forward bend like Paschimottanasana, with one leg folded. This pose is also famous as “One legged folded forward bend” pose. The  Sanskrit term ” Tri ” also alludes to the three yoga poses which appeared combined into this one leg folded forward bend; Dandasana, Virasana, and Paschinottanasana. 

Preparatory Poses –  Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • Uttanasana
  • Dandasana
  • Adhomukhasvan Asana
  • Virasana
  • Paschimottanasana

How to do Intense Three Limb Stretch?

Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

The technique of doing Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana can be understood  in four steps. This yoga asana must be done on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning or at least 4 hours after a heavy meal.

Step 1 – Utthita Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • Sit in Dandasana ( Sit with both legs stretched in front with  the torso held upright at right angles to the legs, toes pointing upwards, spine is erect, and hands are placed beside the hips), exhaling
  • Fold the right leg at the knee and place the right foot, with the sole facing upward, along the side of the right hip, the inner side of the right calf must be touching the outer side of the right thigh, the right foot shoud be resting evenly on the floor
  • Avoid sitting on the foot, this placement of the right thigh, shin and the foot is similar to the placement of one leg in Virasana 
  • Keep both the thighs parallel to each other by keeping the folded knee ( right knee) closest possible to the left knee of the still stretched out leg, Keep the palms placed on the sides of the respective hips, slightly shift the weight of the upper body towards the right so that the right  side of the pelvis rests on the floor, the fingers must be pointing forward toward the legs, Sit straight up, shoulders broadened and rolled back, and chest up

Step 2 – Urdhva Hasta trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • Inhaling, press the legs into the mat, and swing both the hands up with arms stretched to their full length by lifting the torso up, lift the torso from the lower back, extend the spine and the arms upward by lifting from the armpits

Step 3 – Urdhva Mukha Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • Exhaling, bend forward extending the spine further and grab the left foot with both the hands, or if possible grab the wrist of one hand with the other beyond the left foot, Inhaling lift the sides of the chest by pulling the arms back, lift the head  and look up, avoid tilting on toy of the sides

Step 4 – Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • Exhaling, draw the abdomen in, extend the torso forward by opening the elbows out and placing the abdomen, chest and the chin along the length of the left leg sequentially, the hips must rotate towards the lumber spine  by extending the hamstring muscles backward
  • Make sure that the trunk remains in the center by keeping the right pelvis pressed on to the floor throughout while getting into the forward bend, one can stay in this pose from ten to sixty seconds depending on the endurance level
  • Attempt to slide the face further on the left leg on each successive exhalation by opening the elbows out, and extending from the hips to further lengthen the spine, one can stay in this posture from 10 seconds to 1 minute
  • In order to release the pose, first lift the head while inhaling, then raise the trunk back into the upright position, unfold the right leg at the knee and sit back in Dandasdana​
  • Repeat with the left leg folded, this makes for one round of Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Breathing Pattern – Repetitions  & Duration

Exhale while folding the right leg at the knee, inhale while lifting the arms toward the ceiling, exhale while bending forward, stay in the pose with normal breathing, release the pose while inhaling.

Follow up Poses – One Leg Folded Forward Bend

  • Bhardwaj Asana
  • Kraounchasana
  • Salambha Sarvangasana

Alignment essentials & Modifications –  Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  • While beginning in Dandasana stretch the legs by extending the heels out, toes pointed inward
  • Keep the  knees pointed up and keep the muscles of he thighs activated, The back of the thighs, knees and calves must remained pressed on the floor, Keep the shoulders pulled back and down away from the ears while pulling the torso forward and down with the arms, keep the facial mu muscles relaxed
  • Both the thighs must remain parallel to each other and the sitting bones evenly touching the floor, or the mat, In case this is not possible and the upper body tilts toward the left (the straight leg) place a folded blanket under the left hip to level the pelvis
  • While forward folding the torso on to the left leg try to lengthen the spine from its base into the hips to the chin  evenly  lengthening both the sides of the torso, maintain the concavity of the entire back by keeping the chest lifted and shoulders pulled back and down while attempting to  touch the chin to the knee or beyond it, whatever is  possible
  • Wrap a yoga belt around the foot  and grab its twp ends with both the hands in case one is not able to reach it in the initial stages, while stretching into the fold forward bend from the hips not from the abdomen, while pulling the elbows outward keep them in line with the shoulders
  • Do this yoga pose on an empty stomach preferably in the morning

When to avoid Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Avoid doing Intense Three Limb Stretch in case the conditions mentioned here are present to any degree.

  •  In case you have suffered from a recent injury or surgery to the back, hips, ankles, shoulders, knees, neck , spine, and the arms
  • Any injury, of any degree, to any ligament or muscle of the body
  • Weak digestive system or any problem with the abdominal organs – persons with these conditions can use a strap wrapped around the feet in order to reduce the intensity of the pose
  • Hypertension, cardiac issues, migraine, or depression – such individuals must use bolstered support under the knees or under the buttocks
  • Pregnant women especially after 3rd trimester – women can practice One leg folded forward bend supported by the props as mentioned earlier, and under the guidance of a experienced Yoga teacher during pregnancy

Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana Benefits

  • The Intense Three Limb Stretch is good for keeping the digestive system healthy
  • It help reduce agitation of the mind and  aids in improving the flexibility of the spine
  • It is always a part of the yoga that rejuvenates and tones the abdominal organs 
  • Intense Three Limb Stretch is a very good hip opener yoga pose
  • Its stimulates the peristalsis movement of the intestine which helps relieve constipation and flatulence, this yoga pose is generally used as a part of yoga for relieving constipation
  • This yoga pose makes the hips, knees and the muscles in the back of the thighs more flexible
  • It helps heal any sprains of the knee or the ankles
  • It is good for regulating menstruation (cramps) and helps reduce leg swelling
  • Its a good restorative posture after a tiring, long travel
  • This pose is good for strengthening the core muscles, and the pelvic region
  • It stimulates the stomach, liver ( regulates excessive secretion of bile), kidneys, and the regenerative organs, It forms an important part of the yoga therapy for an unhealthy liver
  • It helps contain anxiety, stress and is good for maintaining a healthy nervous system
  • One leg folded forward bend trains the leg to be in the right alignment which helps heal the flat feet condition where the arches of the feet  remain dropped down, arched feet are crucial to maintaining general balance and stability when the body is in a standing position, or even while doing balancing yoga poses
  • As the leg receives a proper stretch here, right from the lower back into the hips, back of the thighs, and the calves, issues like sciatica, piriformis syndrome, and planter fasciitis are taken care of, this pose is indisputably a must inclusion in the yoga for rectifying flat feet, and the yoga for relieving Sciatica pain
  • As maintaining  balance between both the sides of the body is a challenge, while doing Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, the practitioner is forced to direct the attention and awareness to the  part of the body which needs efforts to be kept even with the other part. This helps improve focus, concentration and trains one on how to maintain physical and mental balance while doing the yoga asana

Variation – Parsva Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

  1. Sit in Utthita Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimttanasana to begin with and then do Urdhva Hasta Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana as mentioned earlier in the basic pose technique
  2. Exhaling rotate the torso from the waste towards left till the shoulders have come in line with the extended left leg, now hold the outside of the left knee with the right palm and place the left palm behind he hips, breathe normal for a while
  • Now intensify the leftward twist further by pulling on the left knee with the right palm in order to properly align the shoulders to the extended leg
  • Look straight ahead in the left direction by keeping the head neutral over the shoulders
  • Hold this posture for about 30 seconds
  • Inhaling release the hands, rotate the torso back towards the legs and sit in Dandasana
  • Similarly repeat the asana on the right side