The Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana, also known as Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose, strengthens the core, shoulders and arms, while stretching the quadriceps.
Practicing Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a great way to warm up your body and prepare it for deep posture.
It adds flow and fun to your practice, while providing a great challenge to your body and mind. Shake up your practice with this variety, and you may find that feeling of freedom extends to all areas of your life, on and off the mat.
The Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of six words — Tri + Pada + Adho + Mukha + Svana + Asana:
- “Tri” = “three”
- “Pada” = “foot or leg”
- “Adho” = “downward”
- “Mukha” = “facing”
- “Svana” = “dog”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
Benefits of Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose)
The physical and mental benefits of this yoga are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Stretches the spine, ankles, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteus, knees, and abdominal muscles
- Strengthens the biceps and triceps
- Improve the hip flexibility
- Opens the hips, ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists
- Improves the balance
- Soothes and calms the nervous system
- Reduces the headaches or even a migraine
- Increase the blood flow to the rest of the body
- Mental Benefits:
- Enhancee the focus and concentration
- Calms the mind
- Reduces the stress
Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose) Practice Guide
- Begin in Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), as this is the foundation for Three-Legged Dog Pose or Down Dog Split Pose. Press your hands firmly on the floor, especially your hand on the opposite side of the leg you are going to lift.
- Raise one leg straight up in the air, keeping it fully engaged to the toes. Press the toes of your other foot firmly on the floor.
- Be careful not to over spread the toes of your lower leg. You want to keep a solid grip with the feet on the mat. Maintain a subtle bend to prevent your knee from rolling inward. Always keep your knee facing forward.
- You can either open the hips or keep them closed (i.e., both your hip bones are facing the floor).
- Unlike the norm of Adho Mukha Svanasana, you can raise the head a bit more here.
- Pushing your hands forward into the mat, raise your raised leg. Raise your heels in the air.
- Engage your glute muscles on the side of your raised leg.
- Keep pulling your navel towards the spine to maintain the engagement of your abdominal muscles, as this will give you stability in the posture.
- Align the ears with the upper arms. Relax the head, but don’t let it hang. Gaze between the legs or towards the navel.
- Stay in this pose for 30-60 seconds.
- To release yourself from the pose, as you exhale, lower the right foot to the mat and place it next to the left foot. Repeat the process on the opposite side.
1. Build strength and stability with the arms
Since you have only three pillars in Tripad Adho Mukha Svanasana, you need to pay special attention that your foundation is stable. This is why you want to build strength and stability with your arms. Not only do you have to push them firmly into the ground, but you also have to pay attention to outward rotation of the upper arms and pronation of the forearms. You can find a detailed description of these two actions in Adho Mukha Svanasana.
2. Engage the core
Another important factor in creating stability in this pose is the engagement of the core. Draw your navel in towards your spine as this will engage your abdominal muscles and give you an extra lift in the pose. You will need it because you are missing a pillar of support in this pose.
3. Raised toe pull
Imagine that there is a long line of energy from your palms to the toes of your raised foot. Increase this energy by pushing your hands on the floor, lifting your shoulders, raising your tailbone further, and pulling your toes away from you.
4. Keep weight evenly distributed
Practitioners often allow all of their body weight to fall on the side of their foot that is on the floor. This can result in a smaller waist and an arched back as the other leg is raised. Work against this trend by consciously lengthening both of your waists. To do this, actively press your thigh back and up on the standing leg. Simultaneously lift your other leg completely, that is, instead of just throwing the shin up, start lifting it from the root of your thigh.
5. Maintain the concave shape of the back
You will notice that as you raise one of your legs in the air, the lower back becomes rounded. Maintain the curve in your lower back by focusing even more on pushing your tailbone up and creating a slight ducktail. If necessary, bend your standing leg a little more than Adho Mukha Svanasana. Also make sure that both your sitting bones remain at the same level. Typically, the sit bone of your standing leg becomes neglected and collapses.
Precautions and contraindications
- Do not practice Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Tripod Downward Facing Dog Pose) if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome or are in late pregnancy.
- The pose shall be avoided by persons with injuries to the back, arms, or shoulders.
- Individuals with high blood pressure, eye or inner ear infections also avoid practicing this yoga posture.
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