Yoga Poses

One legged downward facing dog Eka pada adho mukha svanasana


One legged downward facing dog pose is a fun-tastic preparatory posture for handstand, headstand and standing splits as it strengthens the hamstrings and hip flexors. One legged downward facing dog, sometimes known as Balanced Dog or Three Legged Dog extends the benefits of the original standard pose as the challenge is to find alignment and stability in an asymmetrical position.

Begin from active child. Tuck the toes, press the chest towards the thighs and lift the hips, coming into downward facing dog pose. Press the ground away with the hands. Lift the right foot off the ground stretching out through the heel.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine pushing the floor away with the hands, making one line of energy between hand and toes of extended leg.

Technical Comments

The shoulders should be square, with hands evenly spaced and shoulders distance apart.  To avoid twisting the hips, keep them closed with inner thigh of extending leg rotating in and upward. Push out through the heel of extended foot and lift the knee cap to engage quads. To square the hips bring the eye gaze to the toes of the flexed foot. Aim to align the hand, shoulder, hip and foot of extending leg. The standing foot should be flat (if possible).

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens the legs, arms and shoulders
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Strengthens and tones the back and hips
  • Stimulates circulations
  • Opens the upper back (between shoulder blades)

Watch Out For:

  • Twisting hips (close the hips together)
  • Opposite shoulder lifting (realign by pressing hands evenly into ground)
  • Bent leg (extend out through the heel)


  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • High blood pressure


  • Place extend foot against a wall
  • Place wedge or blanket under heel
  • Place strap around arms


  • Bend the knee of extend leg and open hip
  • Extend hand on opposite side
  • Reach back and hold ankle of the extended leg

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Vinyasa
  • Standing forward bend (Padothanasana)
  • Flip-the-dog (Camatkarasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at

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