Lizard Lunge: Utthan Pristhasana
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.
- Utthan: stretch out
- Pristha: page of the book; back of the body
- Asana: pose
- Opens the hips, hamstrings, groins and hip flexors.
- Strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg.
- Crescent lunge | Anjenayasana
- Monkey lunge | Anjenayasana
- Happy baby | Ananda balasana
- Half pigeon | Eka pada rajakapotasana
- Half splits | Ardha hanumanasana
- Flying splits | Eka pada Koundinyasana
- Head to knee pose | Janu sirsasana
- Bound angle pose | Baddha konasana
- Half lord of the fishes | Ardha matsyendrasana
- Place your hands or forearms on a block.
- Place your back knee on the ground or a blanket for a variation.
- Begin kneeling on your mat in tabletop pose.
- Step your right foot to the top of your mat outside of your right hand.
- Walk your back leg back as far as is comfortable, toes tucked under.
- Option to lift your back knee off the ground.
- Squeeze your feet toward each other to engage the hip and leg muscles.
- Reach your chest forward, keeping your spine long.
- 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.
- Hold for five breaths, then release to tabletop. Repeat on the other side.
Natarajasana: Lord of the Dance Pose
Natarajasana (not-ah-raj-AHS-anna) is a physically challenging, beautiful pose that requires flexibility in the spine, legs, and hips. To practice the pose, use a thoughtful sequence filled with plenty of preparatory poses in order to make sure your body – and mind – are adequately prepared. Regular practice will help develop strong mental fortitude and determined concentration.
Philosophy + Origin
A physical embodiment of King Nataraja, a form of the lord Shiva, lord of the dance pose (also referred to as king dancer pose) is a tribute to this powerful god of destruction. Embracing destruction and even death as part of the cycle of change and growth, this pose is a helpful reminder that no good can exist without evil, no birth without death.
In most depictions of King Nataraja, he is standing on one leg (hence the shape of the pose), gazing over the head of a small dwarf, whose presence represents ignorance. In this way, lord of the dance pose encourages our consciousness to elevate above ignorance, above the common thoughts and misunderstandings that cloud our view. The balance that comes from the pose awakens our understanding that clarity brings steadiness.