Your Guide to Utthan Pristhasana, the Lizard Pose

Aug/03/2021 / by KT Hall
lizard pose
Image credits: Shutterstock

Ready to decrease tension in your body? The lizard pose might be for you. With its hip-opening deep stretch, it uses a split leg technique to offer relief especially if you sit all day at work or school.

The Benefits of Lizard Pose

Because we sit all day, lizard pose or Utthan Pristhasana is an ideal stretch that can open the hips. This asana increases range of motion and flexibility. It’s taken from the root words Utthan (deep stretch) Pristha (back of the neck) and Asana (posture).

The lizard-like posture in the pose is ideal for runners, bikers or anyone with tight or stiff hips. While beginners can try it, the lizard pose does take some time to get into. It’s a split-leg technique that opens the hips but the specific posture can prove challenging. 

Try the lizard pose to stretch and open your hips, inner groin muscles and hip flexors. Additionally, the lizard pose is ideal for lengthening the spine and opening the chest wall. You will also find that with this pose, you can learn to stretch and increase the range of motion with your hip flexors and your quadriceps. The added benefit is that beginners can attempt the lizard pose. However, give yourself time to fully relax and get into a deep stretch with the pose to avoid injury.    

Achieving a Deep Stretch with Lizard Pose

The Lizard yoga pose is a recommended asana for opening the hips. Often those who enjoy pigeon pose will try lizard yoga pose because it requires similar techniques and movements.

With the open lizard stretch, you’ll find that the stretch with this particular move is so deep. To achieve it, make sure you keep your head up and don’t let your chest collapse. While in this pose, focus on your breathing and work on your pose without rushing through this complex technique. If you’re using this pose for increased energy, add a few sun salutations to your initial warm-up. You might also want to include half-frog poses to further open your hip flexors.

Lizard lunge is considered an intermediate asana as it includes different variations to optimize flexibility. It helps to reduce low back pain and it offers relief to the hips especially if you have tired or stiff hips from sitting for extended periods. You will also find that as you focus on your prana, you can increase your joint and hip mobility. Most people go into lizard lunge from Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog). They may also use lizard pose before Eka Pada Koundiyanasana II.

Understanding Lizard Pose and Range of Motion

Lizards have an amazing range of motion as they push forward on their hands, thereby increasing their upper body strength. As you envision them stretched out leaning on their upper arms, note that the lizard pose is a base pose. Meaning it’s used to start other types of poses.

With lizard pose or Utthan Pristhasana, you’ll find that you can increase your range of motion, balance and stability. of your hip ligaments and strengthen the muscles in your legs by incorporating it into your yoga practice.

If you want to know how to do this particular pose, you might want to warm up before you start. It’s recommended that you try ujjayi breathing as you attempt this pose and once in a lizard pose, hold it for up to 8 breaths. Lizard pose benefits include hip opening and increased flexibility but if you are a beginner, you might only be able to hold this pose for about 5 breaths. As you get more comfortable with this pose over time, simply go from a downward-facing dog to a three-legged dog. Once there, inhale as you get onto your palms and toe tips. You’ll then start to curl your toes and pull your stomach into your spine as you go back into a downward-facing dog.  


What is lizard pose good for?

Lizard pose is one of the best stretches for opening the hips and to increase range of motion and flexibility. It’s best for runners, bikers and those with stiff hips. This split-leg technique opens the hips and can remove tightness.

What is the open lizard stretch?

For a deep and open lizard stretch, keep your head up and don’t let your chest collapse. Focus on your breathing and don’t rush through this complex technique.

Is lizard pose a hip opener?

Lizard pose can open the hips and relieve tight or stiff joints and muscles. Take your time with this asana and drink lots of water afterward to release any toxins.

Do lizards stretch?

Yes, lizards actually stretch and are quite flexible. Hence, it’s helpful to imagine yourself stretching out fully like a lizard (without flicking your tongue!). This base pose is often used to start other types of poses.

How long should you hold the pose?

Generally, you want to hold the pose for about 8 breaths. As a beginner though, you might want to start with working on holding this pose for about 5 breaths. Then, work your way up.


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