Yoga can be a wonderful activity that promotes physical and mental healing, makes you feel energized, and can increase balance and flexibility. But with so many poses, it’s hard to identify one from the other. In this article, we are going to be talking about a particular intermediate pose called the Lizard pose.
The lizard pose in yoga is also known as the Uttan Pristhasana or the gecko pose and primarily targets the hips, the groin, and the inner hamstrings. It is designed to open up your hips and in Sanskrit, Utthan means to stretch out whereas Pristha means the page of a book and Asana means pose.
The lizard pose, when performed correctly can allow you to stretch out your hips as well as your hamstrings and quadriceps and by strengthening these muscles, you will be able to maintain a full range of motion whilst attempting other poses as you progress through your yoga journey.
Having strong and stable hamstrings and hips can improve your balance and flexibility in the long run and so let’s dive in and find out just how you do the lizard pose.
How to do the Lizard Pose
- You will need to begin the movement in a Downward-Facing Dog position and inhale.
- Exhale as you step your right foot to the outside of your right hand and ensure your foot comes to the front of your mat. Make sure your foot comes all the way to touch the front of your mat and keep your toes are in line with your fingers. You need to be bending your right knee at around 90 degrees and stack it above the ankle. Your toes should point out at 45 degrees.
- Inhale as you bring your elbows to the floor and lay your forearm down flat on your mat. Spread your palms out across the floor and you can use a block underneath your forearms in this position if you find it necessary.
- Relax and keep your head in a neutral position.
- Exhale and press into your left heel, this will keep your left leg active. This will also ensure your hips don’t sag toward the floor.
- Stay in this position for around 5 deep, full breaths.
- When you are ready to release yourself from the pose, exhale and straighten out your arms. Your wrists should now be under your shoulders.
- Inhale and step back into Downward Dog
- Stay in Downward Dog for several breaths.
- Repeat the steps again but start with your left leg this time. This will ensure the pose is performed equally on each side.
Though the steps above will enable you to perform the lizard pose in its full form, if you lack flexibility or a full range of motion, you may struggle to perform it correctly. Luckily, there are a few helpful tips we will recommend you try to modify the pose and make it accessible to all individuals.
- After bringing your right foot forward, if you can, allow your left knee to lower slowly to the mat. This might feel more comfortable for you. You may even start with the knee down and then you can lift it if it feels more comfortable. Ensure you keep the hips level with the shoulders.
- If your hips are particularly tight, try to use props for support. If you use a block under your forearms, this can also provide optimal comfort in the position. If your back knee is not comfortable and feels like it is under pressure, pop a rolled-up towel or a mat underneath it.
- When coming down on your forearms on a block, if you find this is still too intense for you, you can stay on your palms and keep your arms straight.
If you have more flexibility in your hips than others might have, you can vary it up to deepen the stretch even further. If you attempt the following variation, however, try to use a strap to assist you in grabbing your foot.
- Inhale and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot. Allow your right knee to fall open.
- Exhale and drop your left knee to the floor.
- Bend your knee until the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling.
- Inhale and reach your right hand behind your back. Then, you need to take hold of your left foot.
- Exhale slowly and draw your foot forward towards your behind. This will give you a very intense quad stretch. You can do this with your left arm straight on the floor.
Now you know how to perform the lizard pose, you’re probably wondering what the benefits of the pose include. As we have mentioned earlier in the article, the lizard pose is a great way of stretching out your hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors.
By stretching these, you will improve your range of motion and this will help with your flexibility whilst attempting other yoga poses. The lizard pose is a slow, deep, stretch that opens your hips and this can help with lower back pain or target sciatica.
It can also release tension and prevent injury not only whilst practicing yoga but in everyday life too. The pose can also boost mood and help with mental health. It can reduce stress, improve focus, energize creativity and release emotion.
Professional yoga instructors usually recommend the pose to athletes who are searching for ways to help with toning various muscle groups. They might also recommend it to people who are experiencing any symptoms that are related to reproductive health.
As the pose helps to activate the pelvis and the lower abdomen, it can aid these symptoms. For those who want to advance further in yoga, however, the Lizard Pose can also help with poses that require deep hip openers. Poses in this category include the Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) and the Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana).
We hope by reading this article you aren’t afraid of the lizard pose but will want to try it out in your next yoga session! It is a great pose for stretching out the hip and for improving overall balance and flexibility, so don’t be afraid to try it out.
However, it is usually only performed in intermediate and advanced yoga classes so ensure your instructor thinks you are ready for it before you give it a go. This will prevent injury and allow you to progress safely in your yoga journey.