If you experience tightness in your hips and wish to obtain more flexibility throughout your hip and thigh region, then lizard pose is a good choice. Also known as utthan pristhasana, lizard pose is an intermediate asana that brings intense stretching to your hip region.
About Lizard Pose
Lizard pose is a hip opener. The pose stimulates and opens the second - or sacral - chakra, which is the emotional seat of interpersonal relationships and family identity.
Along with opening and stretching hips, lizard pose:
- Improves hip flexibility
- Opens the chest
- Strengthens thighs
- Promotes core strength
Downward-facing dog is a good pose from which to flow into utthan pristhasana.
- Start in downward facing dog.
- Take a deep breath. Exhale and step your right leg forward, placing your foot facing forward with the big toe of the right foot next to the pinkie of your right hand. (Your right foot should be outside of your right hand on your mat.)
- Bend your right knee into a lunging position while keeping your left leg extended behind you, balancing on the ball of your left foot and your entire right foot. Make sure your left leg is aligned with your spine behind you holding a strong core.
- Hold this lunging position for a few breaths. Then, as you like, you can intensify the pose. To do this, bend forward at the waist and place your elbows on the floor in front of you. Your palms and forearms should be flat on the floor.
- Lift your head and look forward, keeping your neck relaxed.
- Hold for 10 to 20 breaths, breathing into the hips as you stretch.
- Release by stepping back into downward-facing dog.
- Repeat on the other leg.
This pose may be intense for people with hip pain. If you have hip or lower back injuries, talk to your yoga teacher about alternatives to this pose.
- To adapt for mild hip tightness, avoid taking the elbows to the floor, or use a bolster or block under your forearms and hands as you bend forward.
- You can also try a slightly less intense hip pose, such as reclined pigeon (eye of the needle) pose.
Opening the Hips
While some people find intense hip opening pose like lizard or pigeon pose uncomfortable, as time passes you gain more flexibility and they become more enjoyable. Opening your hips in this way can help you have more comfort as you sit, walk, and move.