Utthita Trikonasana (trih-koh-NAH-suh-nuh) stretches the spine and trunk, tones the spinal nerves, promotes flexibility of the hips, spine and legs, and improves circulation. It also corrects minor deformities in the legs and strengthens the chest, back and shoulder muscles. The abdominal cavity is also opened, thus improving the function of the digestive organs.
Utthita Trikonasana is the first asana in the sequence of teaching or learning yoga asanas where one will discover the posterior body, anterior body and lateral body to their fullest. By regularly practicing this asana one can develop a holistic understanding of the body, mind, senses and the breath in depth. This asana has the ability to open up the many parts of the body resulting in freshness in the mind.
This asana also reminds us of the three gunas (the three modes of material nature): sattva (which rises for Lord Vishnu the preserver), rajas (which rises from Lord Brahma the creator) and tamas (which rises from Lord Shiva the destroyer). Sattva represents goodness and purity; rajas is action and activity; tamas is characterized by inertness or the destructive energy to recreate a new cycle. The three gunas color every aspect of our existence.
The aim of yoga practice is to increase sattva in our mind and rajas in our body. The physic is kept active and the mind is kept reflective. When the mind is fully charged with suddha sattva (complete purity) the mind gain calmness. This calmness is essential to see the true nature of the self.
Those suffering from high blood pressure should not lift their arms up, but keep their palms on their hips. Those with stiff shoulders should gradually stretch their arms up in line with the shoulders or bring the arms forward and then stretch the arms upwards. Those with hyperextension of the knees should not lock the knees and should try to engage the calf muscles. For those with any neck injuries, look forward (do not turn your head to look up).