Beginner’s Yoga Spotlight: Downward Dog & Three Legged Dog
It’s a two for Tuesday my friends! Yes, I said it we have a double team yoga spotlight today. Downward dog and three legged dog go so hand in hand, that it just didn’t seem right to separate them. Before I even tried practicing yoga, I knew about downward dog. It’s pretty much the most easily recognizable name in the yoga game. Transitioning into three legged dog from downward dog is the most natural movement of your body, and I’m pretty in love with the simplicity and ease.
Ease however did not always mean easy. It took me a while to feel natural in this position, and even through the tutorial picture you will see my legs still slightly bend in. It’s a work in progress, but that’s why the spotlight is so important. It’s incredibly easy to forget that most people do not start off rocking all these yoga poses. Yoga is about you, getting in touch with your body, mind, and spirit at the pace that feels right. Do I sound like a broken record yet? I know I repeat that sentiment all the time, but it’s so easy to forget when your competitive side jumps in and takes over. We all have it babe, and it’s a good thing, but yoga isn’t about that. It’s not about comparing, so stop that!
Let’s start with downward dog, as it’s literally the most recognized pose in yoga culture. Being a staple in the sun salutation, there are so many benefits to downward dog, and not just for those who practice regularly. Anyone who preforms daunting physical tasks can really get something out of it. Before we talk benefits though, let’s talk about getting into the pose.
- From table top position (on hands and knees), press arms forward with widened fingers. Extend arms directly from the shoulder leaving hands shoulder length apart.
- Shift weight from knees slowly up onto toes, pushing hips up and back.
- Straighten your knees, again if you are a beginner, a slight bend is totally fine
- Distribute weight evenly on both hand and both feet.
- Lengthen your spine by pushing away from the mat with your hands.
- Hold pose for at least 30 seconds, but ideally as long as it feels good. It’s actually a pretty restorative pose.
Now that you are feeling the stretch, let’s talk benefits because we all know that’s our favorite topic of conversation!
- Strengthens abdominal muscles
- Improves digestions by compressing the organs of the digestive system.
- Improves circulation
- Decreases anxiety (yes, it really does help!)
- Prepares hands and feet for better balance, as well as toning.
- Increases blood flow to the brain.
- Strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis.
- Lengthens and straightens spine which relieves back pain.
Winner, winner! Let’s keep with the flow here and transition into three legged dog.
- From downward dog, extend leg slowly towards the sky. Keep leg and spine aligned.
- Continue lifting hips high and back
- Keep the heel of your planted foot lifted
- Push away and back with hands on the mat
- Stay in pose for 9-10 breathes, moving heel closer to the mat
- Slowly square off the hips and lower the extended leg on an exhale
Didja do it? You feeling that stretch? Yes girl, you rock! Some of the benefits of the three legged dog include:
- Full body stretch
- Energizing and restoring the nervous system
- Strengthens arms
- Stretches hamstrings and hip flexors
- Helps with carpal tunnel and high blood pressure
Another spotlight tutorial down baby! We have been making awesome headway in this series and I’ve loved sharing the experience with those who are following along! There are still so many poses to add to the series, and I can’t wait to cover each and every one as I continue to grow. I am also considering video tutorials as well, which could be fun! Either way, stick around because we are going in hard on our practice in the next few months! As always, if you’re practicing along make sure to tag me in your pictures, it’s makes me crazy happy!
New here? Check out our past series posts:
Enjoy the vibes ya’ll!