Dani Lieberman

Blogs

Three Legged Down Dog

 

Downward-Facing Dog — Adho Mukha Svanasana (Ah-doh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh) — is probably one of the top ten most popular yoga poses out there. A fun variation is adding a single leg lift towards the sky. Properly known as, Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) or One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) it challenges your balance while opening your entire front line. 

Sometimes you'll see instructors telling you to bend the knee and open the hip towards the side, arching you into a heart opening backbend, but I prefer to find a straight line from head to toe, and keep both my armpits facing back. 

Focus on extending the foot up to the sky while the grounded foot is rooted into the earth. The hips are squared and the hands and feet are active. The forehead reaches for the earth as the shoulder blades rotate inward. The gaze is towards the back.

{Pose Benefits}:

Quiets the mind
Strengthens the arms
Stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors
Develops confidence in balance

{Contraindications}

Carpal tunnel syndrome
High blood pressure

Practicing Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog is a great way to warm your body and prepare it for deeper poses. It adds flow and fun to your practice, while providing a greater challenge to your body and mind. Shake up your practice with this variation and you might discover that the feeling of freedom extends to all areas of your life, on and off the mat.