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Utthan Pristhasana or Lizard Pose

utthan pristhasana
English Name(s)
Lizard Pose
Sanskrit
उत्थान प्रतिष्ठासन / Utthan Pristhasana
Pronunciation
oot-tahn prish-tah-sah-nah
Meaning
Utthan: Stretch out
Pristha: Page of a book
Asana: Pose

Utthan Pristhasana at a Glance

Utthan Pristhasana is also called the lizard Pose since it resembles a lizard-like pose. The pose is a rising pose with the focus on the back. It opens the hips completely and is often practiced as a restorative yoga pose for relaxing.

Benefits:

  • Utthan Pristhasana stretches the muscles of the hips, groins and thighs, thus promoting flexibility.
  • The pose strengthens the muscles of the hamstrings, quadriceps, and inner thighs, thus promoting overall strength.
  • It promotes concentration and focus and massages the abdominal organs.
  • The lizard pose opens up the chest and shoulder.

Who can do it?

For people who are flexible or want to stretch their hips, beginners to advanced-level practitioners can practice this pose.

Who should not do it?

Pregnant women, people with high blood pressure, hip injury, knee injury, Lower back pain, neck issues, or weak shoulders should not practice this pose.

Introduction

Lizard Pose, Utthan Pristhasana, is a yoga pose that stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings, and groin muscles. It resembles a lizard like posture with the chest reaching towards the ground. This pose is usually one of the therapeutic, relaxing yin yoga sequences since it opens up the hips completely and is a mood elevator.

Chakras

Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana mainly stimulates the Swadhisthana chakra and Manipura chakra. So, the pose encourages the practitioner to be mindful and grounded, with fluidity, strength and ease. The pose requires a lot of patience, but the regular practice of it inculcates patience and determination to the practitioner. It balances the chakras and releases emotions since it is a great hip-opener pose.

Philosophy

The pose motivates you to be sthira and sukha, which means you should be balanced and joyful in every life situation. The pose teaches you to be disciplined with dedication, as practicing this pose will lead to cultivating discipline both on and off the mat. It teaches you to practice determination both on and off the mat. It makes you to be physically as well as mentally fit by balancing the energy channels of the body.

How to Do Utthan Pristhasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

  • Start with a high plank position on your yoga mat, with your shoulder in line with your wrist and body in a straight line from head to heels. You can also start with the downward dog pose.
  • Bring your right foot forward at hips level and keep it outside your right arm in a lunge pose.
  • Ensure your toes point outward and your right knee is straight over your right ankle.
  • Slowly lower your left knee on your yoga mat, keeping your left heel firmly on the mat. Maintain balance. Keep your spine straight.
  • Ensure your hips are square with your chest open. Use yoga blocks if needed.
  • Push your forearms to create more space on the mat, and press your hips forward to deepen the stretch.
  • Engage your core muscles. Pull the navel in. Keep your neck aligned. Draw the shoulder blades together.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths. Maintain deep breaths throughout the pose.
  • Slowly release the pose by returning the right leg to the plank pose. Switch sides and release the pose with your left leg forward and right leg behind.

What are the Benefits of Lizard Pose?

  • Utthan Pristhasana opens hips, thighs, and groin muscles and is good for people with tight hips.
  • This pose strengthens the muscles of the quadriceps, inner thighs and hamstrings.
  • It stimulates the abdominal organs, thus promoting good digestion.
  • The pose is good for releasing and balancing emotions since it is a great hip opener from many yoga poses.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Utthan Pristhasana

  • Utthan Pristhasana, or the lizard pose, releases the stiffness of the body.
  • It alleviates the pain due to sciatica.
  • It aids in good digestion by massaging the abdominal organs.
  • The pose activates the pelvic area and the lower abdomen.
  • It relieves stress and anxiety by calming the nervous system.
  • It improves body flexibility, especially in the hips, groins, and thighs.
  • The pose releases endorphins, so it is beneficial for people suffering from depression, giving mental benefits.
  • It is an excellent pose for people who spend long hours sitting in one place or sedentary.
  • The pose strengthens the leg muscles.
  • It is good for the reproductive organs.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with any hip, shoulder, neck, ankle injury, or lower back pain should modify or avoid the pose.
  • Pregnant women should be cautious as it is a deep stretch. Consult a yoga teacher before practicing this pose.
  • People with high blood pressure should modify or avoid this pose.
  • People with balance issues, dizziness, and vertigo should avoid the pose.
  • People with tight or not-so-flexible hamstrings should modify the pose before moving to the final pose.

Utthan Pristhasana and the Breath

  • Inhale, lift your arms over your head, exhale, move down to touch the floor, and relax, lookup.
  • Inhale, keep your spine straight, exhale, come to cobra pose, and exhale to either a downward facing dog pose or a high plank pose. Inhale and exhale, keeping your navel pulled in.
  • Inhale and exhale. While exhaling, bring your right foot in front, outside your right arm, and keep your forearms on the floor. Keep your left foot engaged and stretched. Keep your spine straight and chest lifted, and engage your core. Maintain deep breaths.
  • Try to push your forearms further down, maintaining proper inhalation and exhalation. Inhale, create space exhale, relax and stretch. This is to open your hamstrings further down.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths. Inhale and Exhale, and release the pose by bringing your right leg back.
  • Inhale and Exhale, bring the left foot in front and repeat the same steps. Relax in plank position, inhale and exhale, and come to a downward-facing dog pose. Inhale, stand straight and come to the starting position.

Physical Alignment Principles of Utthan Pristhasana

  • Keep your head, spine and back foot in one straight line during the pose. Keep your elbows firm on the mat. Look straight.
  • Do not fall towards the ground. Engage your core, keep your chest open and shoulders relaxed. Relax during the pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Do not jump into the final pose too early.
  • Start with a few warmups to stretch your hips, spine, shoulder and wrists.
  • Practice a few lunges before practicing this asana.
  • Engage your core, keep your spine straight and chest open and lifted. Use yoga blocks if needed.

Beginner’s Tips

  • Practice a few basic lunges and stretches for hips, shoulders and neck before practicing this pose.
  • You can use yoga blocks under your hands to support yourself if needed.
  • Focus on alignment of the spine, hips and shoulders, and left and right legs.
  • Engage your core. Try to deepen the stretch by pushing your forearms on the mat further down. This will open your hamstrings more.
  • Try to find stability in the pose by balancing the flexibility and the strength in the pose. Maintain steady, deep, conscious breathing throughout the pose.

Preparatory Poses

  • Shoulder, neck, wrist, hip stretches
  • Uthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Basic Lunges Pose)
  • Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
  • Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
  • Shishupalasana (Cradle Pose)

Counter Poses

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Follow-up Poses

  • Phalakasana (Plank pose)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Variations

  • You can keep a chair in front of you, rest your head on the chair and do a half lunge, not ultimately going towards the floor. Hold the chair with your hands. This is a good variation for beginners with tight hamstrings.
  • You can practice the dynamic flow with the yoga blocks under your hands. Hold the yoga blocks with your hands and then push your hips forward and back, giving a fluid dynamic flow. Maintain deep breathing. This will open your hip flexors more.
  • You can roll to the outer edge of your right foot in the lunge position for the outer hip variation of the lizard pose. Twist the body and look up. Keep your knee on the right foot at the outer edge. You can repeat the same steps, switching legs.
  • You can deepen the pose by holding your left foot at the back with your right hand. Use a trap if the foot is unreachable. Look up at the ceiling. Repeat with the opposite foot.
  • You can try the advanced flying lizard pose by wrapping your front foot on one arm and lifting your back leg from the ground. This is an arm balance pose.
  • You can keep your back knee down for balance and your arms straight.

Deepening the Pose

  • You can do deeper hip openers by moving your lunge further down and pushing your hips forward. Keep the position of your hips square.
  • Engage your core and keep your feet flexed. Maintain the straight position of the spine. Keep your foot at the back firm on the floor.
  • Maintain the alignment of the knee and the ankle in the lunge straight.
  • Coordinate the movements with the breaths. Each inhalation makes more space for the stretch, and each exhalation relaxes the muscles and stretch.

The Bottom Line

Utthan Pristhasana is a deep hip opener and can create deep sensations. The pose increases the overall flexibility of the body. In your everyday life, you can practice the pose slowly with deep breathing to open up the hips and get the final lizard pose. Practice regularly to maintain your overall well-being.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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