Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Lizard Yoga Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Standing, Hip Opener

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps

Lizard can be a pretty intense on the hips but there are a lot of ways to modify it so that it becomes more accessible to practitioners with different degrees of mobility. If you're tight in this area, look below for instructions on how to use props for support. On the other hand, if you have more flexibility there are also several ways to intensify the pose for those who want to go a little deeper.

 

Instructions:

1. From downward facing dog, step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Make sure your foot comes all the way to the front of your mat so your toes are in line with your fingers. 

2. Bend your right knee and turn your right toes out about 45 degrees.

3. Bring your elbows to the floor with the forearms flat in your mat. Spread your palms on the floor. Use a block underneath the forearms if necessary (click the link to see this version of the pose).

4. Keep your head in a neutral position, neither drooping down nor cranking up. Press into your left heel to keep your left leg active so your hips don't sag toward the floor.

5. Stay for five breaths. To come out, straighten your arms so that your wrists are under your shoulders. Then step back to downward dog and take several breaths before doing the pose on the other side.

Beginners' Tips:

1. Lower your left knee to the mat if that feels better in your body.

2. Keep your arms straight if coming down to the elbows on a block is still too intense.

Advanced Tips:

1. If you want to go deeper, roll onto the outer edge of the right foot and let your right knee fall open to the right. 

2. Drop the left knee to the floor. Bend your left knee so the sole of your foot faces the ceiling.

Reach your right hand behind your back and take hold of your left foot. Draw your foot toward your butt for an intense quad stretch. You can do this with your left arm straight or with your left forearm on the floor if that's possible. 

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