Lizard Lunge: Utthan Pristhasana

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Utthan Pristhasana (OOT-ahn preesth-AHS-ah-nah) is a deep lunge that strengthens the groin and inner hamstrings while preparing the body for deeper hip openers. This shape is also called runner’s lunge in some areas.

Sanskrit:

  • Utthan: stretch out
  • Pristha: page of the book; back of the body
  • Asana: pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Opens the hips, hamstrings, groins and hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Crescent lunge | Anjenayasana
  • Monkey lunge | Anjenayasana
  • Happy baby | Ananda balasana

Sequential Poses:

  • Half pigeon | Eka pada rajakapotasana
  • Half splits | Ardha hanumanasana
  • Flying splits | Eka pada Koundinyasana

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Place your hands or forearms on a block.
  • Place your back knee on the ground or a blanket for a variation.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Begin kneeling on your mat in tabletop pose.
  2. Step your right foot to the top of your mat outside of your right hand.
  3. Walk your back leg back as far as is comfortable, toes tucked under.
  4. Option to lift your back knee off the ground.
  5. Squeeze your feet toward each other to engage the hip and leg muscles.
  6. Reach your chest forward, keeping your spine long.
  7. If you have room, lower your forearms to a block or the ground. If the ground seems far away, place your hands on a block or a chair.
  8. Hold for five breaths, then release to tabletop. Repeat on the other side.

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Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

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ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Ardha matsyendrasana (ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-ah-nah) is an approachable twist that opens the shoulders and chest. A good antidote for too much sitting and symptoms that come with overusing technology, half lord of the fishes pose has the ability to increase energy in the body while also stoking the digestive fire in your belly.

Philosophy + Origin

Matsyendra is often recognized as one of the original founders of hatha yoga in yogic mythology. He was said to be a baby who was thrown into the ocean after his parents rejected him. The story of Matsyendra reminds us that it’s often the parts of our personal stories we don’t like or don’t want to accept that can be the most beneficial, especially on the path to becoming a yogi or yogini. Rather than conceptualizing the twist to be a purge of what is unwanted or unnecessary, think of the detoxification as a purification, an opportunity to take what was once viewed or understood as “bad” and transform it into something that is helpful on your personal journey.

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