Lizard Yoga Pose (Utthan Pristhasana) – How to Perform, Muscles Worked and Benefits

lizard yoga pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

If you’ve got tight hips or hamstrings, then it’s time to find your inner reptile and embrace the wonderful world of the lizard yoga pose.

This stretch helps improve hip mobility and all-round flexibility in the lower body. It also helps support functional strength in your core and upper body too. Simply put, this is a stretch everyone should be doing to improve their overall fitness and mobility, whether you’re an athlete looking for a competitive edge, or someone looking to regain their flexibility in older age.

If you find yourself sat down for long periods, then the lizard pose could also be the stretch you’ve been searching for… the holy grail for unlocking tight hips and supporting better movement and flexibility from the waist down.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into this deep stretching pose.

What is the Lizard Pose?

Lizard Pose is officially known as Utthan Pristhasana – Utthan means to stretch out, Pristha means the page of a book, and Asana means pose.

It is a wonderful hip opener. You can do it after any practice to release any residual tension in the hips or groin. It will also stretch the hamstrings and the lower back. It is also a great pose for pregnant women. At the same time it can also stretch the chest and shoulders and relieve any tension in the upper back. As with all poses, it is important to allow your breathing to help you release the areas of the body that are tight.

It is a deep stretch movement whereby one leg is brought forward in a kneeling plank position, to stretch out the groin, hips and quads.

Lizard pose also flows nicely into other complementary movements and stretches, such as Pigeon pose.

How to do the Lizard Yoga Pose

  1. Start in table pose: Come onto all fours and bring your hands under your shoulders. (If it’s too hard on your wrists to do table pose, you can also put your hands up on blocks or a chair.)
  2. From table pose, move into downward facing dog, with your chin tucked into your chest.
  3. Then, move your left foot into a lunge, and place it next to your left arm.
  4. Lower your right knee to the ground and push your hips forward, keeping your back straight. Try and relax your core as you do so.
  5. Lower your body down, bending at the elbows so your forearms are on the floor. Your back and thighs should be aligned. Your elbows should also be under your shoulders. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
  6. Hold the pose and repeat on the other side.

If you are struggling getting into the Lizard yoga pose, try using yoga blocks or something else to raise your arms. Similarly, to begin with you could keep your arms straight instead of dropping to your elbows and having your forearms on the floor.

Lizard Pose Benefits

Lizard pose provides a whole host of benefits, namely being a very effective way of stretching out the hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps. The benefits of improved hip and lower body flexibility can have a huge impact on your overall health. Tight hips and hamstrings can often be a cause for lower back pain, for example, so ensuring you don’t end up with limited mobility in the hip flexors is important for everyone, not just athletes and those practicing yoga.

Lizard pose can be a great way to open your hips, especially if you have a hard time getting into a wide-legged forward fold. This pose helps open the quadriceps (front thigh muscles), while also stretching the hamstrings (back thigh muscles).

By opening up the hips, the Lizard pose helps address all sorts of aches and pains, including sciatica. Because it’s a deep hip stretch, it can help relieve sciatic pain and reduce tension in the hips and low back.

As well as stretching out your muscles, the pose will also help develop functional strength and improve balance throughout the movement.

In particular, it helps strengthen the inner thigh.

Lizard Pose Modification and Variations

Lizard pose may be modified to be easier or more challenging, depending upon your circumstances. The pose may also be practiced with other variations to increase the benefits.

If the Lizard pose itself is too difficult, try practicing the pose with the hips resting on a yoga block. For a more intense version of this pose, try starting in the Lizard Pose position but then lift the hips up higher off the floor.

If you have lower back, knee, or hip problems, try gently placing your hands on the hips to help support the weight of the upper body.
For a variation of the Lizard pose, try lying on the stomach first and then slowly raising the upper body off the floor. As you raise your body, you may also want to extend the legs out behind you.

There are two popular variations of the Lizard yoga pose; the twisted lizard and the flying lizard.

Twisted Lizard

The twisted Lizard pose is a fantastic variation to this movement. The twisted variation will really stretch out your back and open up your chest. It will also require more flexibility in your legs and hips.

To do the Twisted Lizard:

  1. Start by getting into the Lizard pose, with your right leg forward.
  2. Lift your right hand off the ground and twist your torso out.
  3. Bend your left leg and hold your left foot with your right hand.
  4. Hold for a few seconds and return to the regular Lizard pose.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Flying Lizard

The Flying Lizard turns this stretch into a full body strength exercise. It involves holding your bodyweight which requires strength as well as stability and balance.

The Flying Lizard will specifically strengthen your arms, chest, shoulders, back and core.

To do the Flying Lizard:

  1. Start by getting into the Lizard pose, with your right leg forward.
  2. Tuck your right shoulder under your right leg.
  3. Bending your knee, try and tuck your right foot back under your right elbow.
  4. Slowly lift your right foot off the ground, raising your left leg in the air as you do so.
  5. Both feet should now be off the ground and your bodyweight is being supported by your arms.
  6. Hold for a few seconds.
  7. Return to the regular Lizard pose and repeat on the other side.

Lizard Pose Challenge

If you’re looking for some yoga challenges, including movements like the Lizard pose, discover our virtual fitness challenges here at fitness drum. Get fit by following along to a yoga challenge or one of the new fitness challenges added each month.

FAQ

What muscles are worked in lizard pose?
Lizard pose stretches the hip flexors, the back extensors, the lower back muscles, and the hamstrings.

Is the lizard pose a good stretch?
Yes, the lizard pose is a great stretch for the hips and lower body.

How can I improve my lizard pose?
Keep practicing. It is a difficult pose that requires flexible hips so adding in more hip and groin stretches to your weekly routine will likely help too.

How long should you hold a lizard pose?
The Lizard pose is usually held for a few seconds, e.g. 5 seconds, however, it’s up to you. If you want to hold it for longer, you can.

 

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