One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Definition - What does One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose mean?

One-legged downward-facing dog pose is an inversion that requires balance and flexibility. It is an advanced variation of one of yoga's most fundamental poses, downward-facing dog, or simply down dog.

To practice the one-legged variation, begin in downward-facing dog, in which the body forms an inverted “V” with the feet and hands pressing into the ground and the hips pushing to the sky. From there, one leg lifts off the ground and extends upward. Keep your gaze between the legs. For a deeper expression of the pose, the knee of the extended leg bends, dropping the ankle toward the buttocks.

One-legged downward-facing dog pose is also known by the Sanskrit names, eka pada adho mukha svanasana or tri pada adho mukha svanasana.

Yogapedia explains One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose

One-legged downward-facing dog opens the hips, stretches the thigh muscles and strengthens the abdominals. Like other versions of down dog, it also strengthens and tones the shoulders, arms and legs, and lengthens the spine. The posture relieves stress, calms the mind, and energizes and rejuvenates the body. As an inverted pose, one-legged down dog is also thought to provide a different perceptive on an emotional level, boosting confidence.

Practicing one-legged downward-facing dog has the following additional benefits:

  • Strengthens the bones, thereby preventing osteoporosis
  • Improves flexibility through the hips, back and arms
  • Relieves insomnia and headaches through improved blood flow
  • Provides relief from asthma, insomnia, fatigue, menopause symptoms and sciatica

Yogis suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or high blood pressure should avoid this pose, as should those with wrist, hamstring, shoulder or arm injuries. The posture is also not recommended for women in late pregnancy. Beginners and those with limited flexibility should not raise the leg as high and may keep the raised knee bent.

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