1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Down Dog Split


Updated May 16, 2014

Down Dog Split

Down Dog Split

© Barry Stone Down Dog Split with Open Hips

Down Dog Split with Open Hips

© Barry Stone
Type of Pose: Standing

Benefits: Strengthens the arms, improves hip flexibility, increases body awareness

Also Known As: Three-legged dog


1. Begin in downward facing dog.

2. On an inhale, raise your right leg off the ground behind you.

3. Keep your hips level with one another as you lift the right leg. The hips should stay squared with the floor.

4. Keep the left heel releasing toward the floor.

5. Try to keep an equal amount of weight in both your arms.

6. Extend through the raised right heel and the crown of your head.

7. After holding the pose with the hips squared for several breaths, you can open the right hip, stacking it over the left hip. This will allow the right leg to come higher and give you a nice hip stretch.

8. Although you are opening the hips, try to keep the torso from twisting to the left.

9. In the open hips position, you can bend the right knee and let the right heel come toward your left buttock.

10. After several breaths, straighten the right leg and resquare your hips toward the floor.

11. Drop the right foot back to the floor and repeat the sequence on the left side.

Beginners: Don't worry about how high your right legs comes. It is more important to keep the hips squared at first. Make sure you do not spike the left heel when you raise the right leg. Keep the heel reaching toward the floor.

Advanced: Flip the dog, moving into wild thing.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Yoga
  4. Yoga Poses
  5. Down Dog Split

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.