Use Three-Legged Dog to build upper body strength while enjoying side body lengthening.

Move-It Monday~Yoga Pose: Three Legged Dog

Difficulty level: Easy to Medium


  • Lengthens the side body
  • Opens the hamstrings
  • Strengthens the hands, shoulders, and will
  • Adds a twist to stimulate abdominal organs

Three-legged dog is often used transitionally when moving from one pose to another.  I invite you to slow down and savor this pose to build awareness and strength while enjoying the break from movement to regain your breath and find a deep twist to boot.

Begin in Down Dog.  As you press your hands into the mat, draw your arms energetically towards each other bringing the energy up the arms to your shoulders.  Firm your shoulder blades on your back, exhale and draw your chest towards your thighs.  Lift your sit bones high and on the next exhale, send the energy down your legs, rooting your feet into the mat.

Moving from the root of your hip, lift your right leg up  behind you.  Press through the heel of your flexed foot.  Continue to press evenly through the hands as you find length in your side body.

Bend your right leg, drawing the heel close to your sit bones.  Maintain even balance between both hands and your standing leg as you stack your right hip on top of your left hip (here’s the twist!).  Notice that your standing leg shoulder will want to “dump” towards the floor; continue to pull that shoulder forward as your press the lifted leg shoulder back to maintain the shoulder alignment.  As you continue to hold and refine the pose, flair the toes of your lifted, flexed foot.

Hold this pose for several breaths, then, exhale and straighten the leg back to it’s lifted position (here’s really where WILL comes in!).  Resist the urge to simply drop your foot to the floor by maintaining muscular energy throughout the pose.

On your next exhale, draw the lifted leg back to down to the floor into Downward Dog .

Repeat on the opposite side.


Three Legged Dog can be exhausting!  Feel free to give your wrists and arms a rest in between sides by taking a Child’s Pose after each side!

Looking for a yoga sequence you can incorporate into your daily routine?  Check out Refresh, Renew, Reset~A 7-Day Jumpstart For Mind and Body.  I created this nutrition protocol with daily yoga and meditation to assist you in jumping into (or back into) your healthy lifestyle!