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Three-Legged Dog

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana

Three-Legged Dog is a rejuvenating yoga pose that resembles an inverted "V" shape. It involves lifting one leg high while balancing on hands and the opposite foot, fostering strength, balance, and flexibility.







How to do Three-Legged Dog Yoga

Three-Legged Dog pose can be done by:

  1. Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, ensuring your wrists are directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

  2. Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine. Spread your fingers wide, pressing firmly into the mat for stability.

  3. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, coming into Downward Facing Dog. Straighten your legs as much as comfortable, forming an inverted "V" shape with your body.

  4. Shift your weight slightly forward, taking some pressure off your hands, but maintaining stability in your arms.

  5. On an inhalation, lift one leg off the mat, extending it straight back and up. Keep your hips level and square to the floor.

  6. Flex your foot to engage the leg muscles and reach through the heel for a more active stretch.

  7. Maintain a steady breath and keep your shoulders relaxed, away from your ears.

  8. Hold the pose for a few breaths, focusing on lengthening the lifted leg and grounding through the hands and opposite foot.

  9. To release the pose, exhale and gently lower the lifted leg back down to the floor, returning to the Downward Facing Dog position.

  10. Take a moment to rest in Downward Dog before repeating the pose on the other side.


If you have contraindications or concerns about practicing Three-Legged Dog (Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog), there are several options and alternative poses you can explore:

  • Downward Facing Dog: If lifting one leg feels challenging, you can practice the regular Downward Facing Dog pose. This variation is still highly beneficial for strengthening and stretching the body.

  • Modified Downward Facing Dog: Place your hands on a sturdy chair, a wall, or use yoga blocks under your hands. This modification reduces the weight on your upper body, making it suitable for those with wrist issues or limited upper body strength.

  • Puppy Pose (Anahatasana): This gentle heart-opening pose is a great alternative for people with wrist or shoulder issues or those looking to focus more on stretching the chest and shoulders.

  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana): This standing pose provides a mild inversion and is an excellent alternative for people with high blood pressure or who prefer to avoid weight-bearing on the hands.

  • Wall Dog: Face a wall and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall at chest height. Walk your feet back and your body at a 45-degree angle to the wall, creating a modified version of Downward Facing Dog.

  • Supported Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Lift your hips and place a yoga block or cushion under your sacrum for a gentle inversion.

  • Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani): Lie on your back with your legs resting against a wall, creating a relaxing and gentle inversion that can help alleviate tired legs and improve circulation.

  • Cat-Cow Stretch: Focus on gentle spinal movements in Cat-Cow instead of holding inverted poses. This is suitable for warming up the spine and improving flexibility.

Remember that every yoga practice can be tailored to individual needs and limitations. If you're unsure about which alternative is best for you, consider consulting with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific conditions and goals.


While Three-Legged Dog (Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog) is generally a safe and beneficial yoga pose, there are some contraindications and cautions to consider:

  1. Wrist or Shoulder Injuries: If you have wrist or shoulder issues, be cautious while practicing this pose. Consider using yoga props, like blocks, to decrease pressure on the wrists.

  2. High Blood Pressure: Inverted poses, including Downward Facing Dog variations, can increase blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, be mindful of the time you spend in this pose and avoid straining.

  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you might experience discomfort in the wrists during weight-bearing poses like this. Modify the pose or avoid it if necessary.

  4. Neck Injuries: Be careful not to strain your neck by letting it hang heavily in this pose. Keep your neck aligned with your spine.

  5. Hamstring or Hip Flexor Injuries: If you have hamstring or hip flexor issues, be cautious when lifting your leg in Three-Legged Dog. Avoid overstretching and only go as far as your body allows without pain.

  6. Pregnancy: For pregnant individuals, this pose might not be suitable, especially as the pregnancy progresses, due to the inversion and the pressure on the abdomen.

  7. Vertigo or Dizziness: Inverted poses can trigger or worsen feelings of dizziness or vertigo. If you experience these sensations, it's best to avoid this pose.

  8. Recent Surgery or Injury: If you've recently had surgery or have an injury, consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor before attempting Three-Legged Dog.

  9. High Blood Pressure: Inverted poses can elevate blood pressure, so people with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid this pose or practice it with great caution.

As with any yoga pose, it's essential to listen to your body, avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits, and seek guidance from a yoga instructor, especially if you're new to the pose or have any specific health concerns. Always inform your instructor about any injuries or medical conditions before starting a yoga practice. They can provide appropriate modifications or alternatives to keep your practice safe and enjoyable.

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