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How to practice Utthan Pristhasana-lizard pose with variations

Learn all about Utthan Pristhasana with different variations and alignment tips.

Utthan Pristhasana known as lizard pose in English is a beautiful asana that focuses primarily on the hips. What I love about this asana is that is can be modified in different ways to suit the body so that the hip opening can happen in a more gentle way. It is also an asana used often in the Yin yoga practice, known there as dragon pose.

Utthan Pristhasana is quite dynamic in the sense that it works on both the hip flexors and the hip extensors. The back leg, which is extended, means that it offers a gentle stretch to the hip flexors on that side. And the front leg, which is in the position of a knee flexion/bent knee, offer the glutes, hamstrings and thighs a nice and gentle stretch.

Having the hands placed on the mat and the shoulders in their neutral position, helps also to open the chest. For those who are not reaching the mat comfortably with their hands, yoga blocks can be used under the hands to avoid slouching the shoulders inwards and closing the chest.

There are several variations which can be explored in Lizard pose. The below are just some. Aside from the variation with the yoga blocks under the hands, another one which is not included below is done by keeping the back leg off the mat, which makes it even more dynamic by activating the leg muscles.

Helpful alignment tips

  • For the front leg, knee is bent in line with the ankle.
  • Back leg is extended with the knee and top of the foot on the mat; the back leg is in line with the hip.
  • Hips and pelvis are facing forward.
  • The palms are on the mat, with the arms straight and chest and shoulders are open.
  • Drishti is slightly forward.

UTTHAN PRISTHASANA VARIATIONS

VARIATION 1: helps to stretch a little further.

Lizard pose variation 1

VARIATION 2: introduces a spinal twist and also stretches
‚Äčthe back leg quadriceps.

Lizard pose variation 2

VARIATION 3: includes all benefits of the above variation but with a deeper stretch and twist.

Lizard pose variation 3

VARIATION 4: stretches the back leg quadriceps and also provides a deeper overall opening and stretch of the hips. This asana requires flexibility of the spine and hips to be able to bring the shoulder under the knee.

Lizard pose variation 4

VARIATION 5: involves a side open twist, which stretches side of the body, as well as the inner thighs and also keeps the chest open.

Lizard pose variation 5

VARIATION 6: includes all the same benefits as the above variation just requires a little bit more flexibility of the spine and inner thighs.

Lizard pose variation 6