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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Parsvottanasana: Intense Side Stretch Pose

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ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

From lengthening the spine to stretching the legs to calming the mind, there’s a little bit of everything in parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-ah-nah) Also known as intense side stretch pose or pyramid pose, this shape is helpful for finding balance while stretching hamstrings.

Parsvottanasana requires a combination of flexibility, strength, and patience. With the help of props such as blocks or a wall, the\is pose becomes accessible for everyone.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Blocks: Place hands on blocks to help keep the torso long.
  • Wall: Place hands on a wall in front of you to work on strengthening the muscles of the back.
  • Heart opening variation: Take the hands in reverse prayer position behind the back to stretch and open your shoulders and chest while also challenging your balance. If reverse prayer isn’t accessible, you can still bring the arms behind the back, reaching for opposite elbows instead.
  • Adjust your stance: If the back heel is lifted off of the floor, shorten the stance so you can push through the heel to activate the back leg. For more stability, widen your stance.
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