If you’ve ever taken a freedom flow class at one of our studios, then you’ve probably come into three-legged dog pose, eka pada adho mukha svanasana. This pose, sometimes called one-legged downward facing dog pose, is a great stretch and a challenge for your balance. 

Benefits: 

Strengthens the arms, stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors. Great for stress relief as well as relief from headaches, back pain, fatigue, and digestion. 

How to:

  1. Start in downward facing dog position, adho mukha svanasana. Think of your body in the shape of an upside down V. Try to press your heels into the mat–but don’t force it, it doesn’t happen for everyone! 
  2. As you inhale, lift through your right leg, straight up and back with your heel higher than the rest of your leg. 
  3. Flex through the elevated foot and internally rotate that right leg so your toes stay pointing downwards and your hips remain square with your mat. Squaring off your hips may cause your leg to lower a little bit, but that’s ok! Squeeze through the back of your thigh to stay strong the elevated leg.
  4. Keep your standing leg strong by pressing down through the foot. Take a small bend in the knee if needed, but avoid locking out the knee joint. 
  5. Release and repeat on the other side. 

Modify it:

If putting pressure on your hands is a bit much for you, feel free to come down onto your forearms for a single-leg dolphin variation or onto your knees for a half-pointer pose, which is a more accessible approach to three-legged dog. 

Make it Harder: 

When your right leg is lifted, take your left hand off the floor and place it on your lower back. Breathe, you can do it! 

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