Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Extended Triangle

Begin in tadasana (above). Widen stance, stepping 3 to 4 feet apart. Turn right foot out 90 degrees, rotating right thigh outward. Turn left foot inward slightly to a 45 degree angle. Distribute weight evenly over both feet. Keep legs straight, elongate torso continuing to face forward. Raise arms parallel to the floor and reach through the fingertips. Reaching strongly shift torso to the right while shifting hips to the left. Hinging at the hips, lean to the right, bringing right hand to rest on mat or block by right foot, or on leg according to flexibility. Stretch left arm up, bring gaze to raised hand. Draw right shoulder back, spiral chest outward. Breathe and extend in all directions. To come out, press into feet, raising torso upright, hands down to sides. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Stretches and strengthens leg muscles from ankles to hips, knees, abdominals, obliques, shoulders, chest, spine. Stimulates abdominal organs (improving digestion and elimination).
Contraindications: low blood pressure, heart conditions, headache, neck problems (keep head in neutral position if you have neck problems.)