Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose, Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana, (Tri Pa-da Ah-doh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh)

tri (three) + pada (foot or leg) + adho (downward) + mukha (face) + śvāna (dog) + āsana (pose)

Also known as: Three Legged Down Dog, Single Legged Downward Facing Dog, Tripod Downward Facing Dog Pose, Tail of the Dog Pose

Pose Type: Inversions, Back Pain, Balancing, Stretching, Strengthening

Difficulty: Intermediate

Yogajala Poses 1

The Three Legged Downward Dog Pose often holds the space, the inhale, between a Downward-Facing Dog and a standing pose. This pose invites you to flow.

three legged Downward Facing Dog Pose Fundamentals

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose) can be revisited many times during a single Vinyasa or Ashtanga flow. Find this pose too in a Sun Salutation sequence.

Although it is not an easy pose by any stretch, the three legged downward facing dog can serve as a preparatory pose for more advanced asanas such as the standing split pose, or hand balance poses.

Three legged downward facing dog Benefits

  • Stretches the lower body, hamstrings, calves, ankles, opens hips, and stretches hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the upper body and builds strength in your shoulders and arms as well as strong abdominal muscles. 
  • Stimulates your blood flow, as your heart is above your head, gravity increases blood flow and improves the circulation. 

How To Do Three Legged downward facing dog: Step-by-step

three legged downward dog 1

How to get there: 

1. Start off on all fours with knees under your hips and shoulders stacked directly over your wrists. 

2. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and fingers spread. 

3. Press your palms into the mat and lift your hips up and back as you come into an upside-down V position. You’re now in Downward-Facing Dog.

4. Step both feet together and on your next inhale, lift your right leg straight up and back, high in the air.

5. Spread your toes, flex your right foot, push back through your heel.

6. Internally rotate your right leg so that your kneecap and toes are squarely facing the mat.

7. Keep your shoulders square and your standing leg strong. Imagine one long straight line from your wrists to your ankles.

8. Align your ears with your arms and gaze between your legs or up towards your navel.

annotated image of a woman doing yoga's three legged downward facing dog

Tips and Tricks: 

  • With your arms long and straight, keep your shoulders back and away from your ears.
  • Bring your navel in and up, try to bring your chest towards your standing thigh.
  • Balance your weight evenly between your two hands.

three legged Downward Dog variation: Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose Variation Stacked

Difficulty: Advanced

Yogajala Poses 1

This stacked variation is even more of a hip-opening pose than the standard one legged downward facing dog. Try it out!

three legged downward dog stacked

How to get there: 

When you’re in Three Legged Downward Facing Dog, bend your right knee and lift it high towards the ceiling. Draw your right hip up so that your right hip is stacked atop your left hip. Reach your right foot towards your left ear and gaze towards your lifted foot.

Standing Split Pose

Handstand

Revolved Downward Facing Dog Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Tabletop Pose

Plank Pose

Downward Facing Dog

Counter Poses:

Child’s Pose

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Maria Andrews

Maria Andrews

Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover. She finds joy in learning, experiencing, and connecting.

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