Lizard Pose is a versatile pose with many benefits:
- Opens the hips, hamstrings, groins and hip flexors
- Strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg
- Opens and releases the chest, shoulders and neck
- Prepares the body for deeper hip openers such as Pigeon Pose and Hanuman Pose
- This is an intense hip stretch
- Sciatica or lower back pain
- You do not need to take all of the above variations listed; choose the stage of the pose that is best suited to your practice.
- You may use a block or a bolster to rest your forearms on.
- You may need a strap to grab hold of your foot in the quad stretch variation
Utthan Pristhasana (OOT-ahn preesth- AHS – anna)
- From Downward Facing Dog Pose, step your right foot forwards between your hands. Heel-toe your foot towards the edge of your mat, so that your foot is slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Let your hips grow heavy, so that they settle forwards and down. Begin to walk your hands forwards until you are able to come down on to your forearms. You may place your forearms on the ground, or on a block.
- Extend your heart forward, lengthening the spine. Try to soften the heart and draw the shoulder blades together, taking the rounding out of your back.
- Keep your right knee hugging towards your midline to get into the inner hip and thigh area of your right leg. You can keep your left knee lifted with your leg active, or for a more restorative version, you can lower your left knee.
Outer hip variation:
- With your forearms on the ground, flex your right foot, drawing your toes towards your shin. Begin to let your right knee draw outwards toward the right, rolling to the outside edge of your right foot. Make sure to keep your foot flexed to protect the ankle and the knee.
Quad stretch variation:
- From the outer hip variation, with your left knee lowered, reach back with your right hand and take hold of your left foot. Begin to draw your foot towards your buttocks as your hips continue to draw forwards.
- Open your heart towards the sky and lean back towards the left.
- Breathe at any stage or variation of the pose for 5-10 breaths, then step back to Downward Facing Dog Pose. Repeat with the left leg forwards.