One-legged downward dog, downward dog split– there are many names this pose may be called.
Regardless of the name,
3-legged dog is a great pose to transition from your hands to a standing pose.
If you are a beginner, try refining your Downward Dog before attempting this pose. Taking away a leg, adds more weight for your upper body to support.
The basic pose fires up the hamstrings and glutes and actively stretches the hip flexor, but 3-legged can go many other places if you add a few variations!
Bare Bones Pose:
- From downward dog, reach your right leg to the sky. Keep your first knuckle pressing to the ground to prevent wrist pain.
- Keep your hips squared off and even. There is a tendency to open the lifted hip.
- Engaged through the back of the leg and glute. Keep foot flexed. Hold for 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Then, switch legs!
1. Pointed toe 3-legged dog: Keep your lifted leg locked out and point the toe. Allow the hip to open slightly in this variation. Bonus: Walk your hands toward the base leg to standing splits.
2. Bent knee 3-legged dog: For an extra stretch in the front of the thigh, start to bend your knee and stack open your hips. Bonus: Transition to Wild Thing.
Elbow to knee holds: Want strengthen the core without crunches? From the basic 3-legged pose, bend your lifted knee. Exhale to bring your knee to the opposite elbow. Hold for 2 breaths. Then, inhale to extend back to 3-legged. Exhale to bring your knee to the same elbow. Hold for 2 breaths. Switch legs!
Knee to nose rollouts: Same idea as the elbow to knee variation. Bring the lifted knee into your chest, hollow out your core bringing your navel to spine. Then , roll forward so your upper back rounds and your chest aligns with your hands. Hold 5 breaths or 15 seconds and repeat 3 times. Switch sides.