Lizard Pose (Uttana pristhasana) has a lot to offer to the practitioner. It’s great stretch for the hip flexors, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps. Though the asana seems challenging and is an intermediate posture, its multiple benefits are something that sticks the yogi to it.
If your hips are flexible enough hop on to your mat in downward-facing dog pose. From there, stepping a foot forward outside the corresponding hand and pressing the forearms to the floor will guide you into the pose. The other leg remains stretched with toes firm on the ground.
Besides being an intense hip-opener, this posture promotes the flexibility of legs, arms, and shoulders. The spine, core, and chest muscles are toned.
If you are a newbie and its advanced level is giving you cold feet, check out its easier variations mentioned below.
Uttan Pristhasana Meaning
Uttana Pristhasana is the Sanskrit name used to refer to this asana. As in Sanskrit, “uttan” means “stretch out”, “pristha” refers to “back of the body”, and “asana” is “pose”.
It stretches the back of the body along with the hips, hence named so.
It is also popularly known by its English names, lizard pose, or gecko pose. The resemblance of the body to the lizard and its flexible back while holding the posture are the facts that justify the name.
Including uttana pristhasana into your regular practice will improve your physical and mental health. It is also recommended for promoting reproductive health.
Lizard Pose Practice Guide
It is better to know whether your health conditions allow you to get into the pose or not. Be cautious keeping these indications before entering uttana pristhasana.
- Avoid lizard pose with an injury in the ankle, knee, hip, or back.
- Do not try this pose if you are recovering from a recent surgery.
- People with abnormal blood pressure should not try it with proper guidance.
- If you have dislocated shoulders or any form is hernia skip this asana.
- Its practice is not recommended with a heavy head.
- Lunge Pose (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)
- Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
- Forearm Plank Pose (Phalakasana II)
- Cradle Pose (Hindolasana)
- Bound Angle Forward Bend (Baddha Konasana Uttanasana)
- Half Happy Baby Pose (Ardha Ananda Balasana)
How to Do Lizard Pose
- Begin with a downward-facing dog pose.
- Step your right foot forward into a low lunge.
- Bring your right fingertips towards the left and walk the right foot outwards.
- Lower the upper body by bringing the forearms to the floor maintaining the integrity of the spine and neck.
- Inhale, lift your left knee off the floor.
- Look forward and feel the stretch in your hips and inner thighs with deep breaths
- Hold the pose for 5-6 breaths.
- Lower your left knee to the floor and straighten your arms.
- Bring your right arm outside the right foot.
- Straighten the right leg pointing the toes up and then return to low lunge.
- Now, exhale dragging the right leg back to downward-facing dog pose.
- Repeat it, bringing the left foot forward. once done on both the sides, relax in child’s pose.
- Do not move your elbows once you attain the posture.
- Be mindful to ensure that the hips are kept square while practicing uttana pristhasana.
- Keep your head in a neutral position in the final posture.
- Janu sirsasana (Head to knee pose)
- Bound angle pose (Baddha konasana)
- Half lord of the fishes (Ardha matsyendrasana)
- Yoga blocks – If you are finding it difficult to reach the floor while holding the pose, then, place a block under each hand or forearm. This will ease the pose and still maintain the stretch.
- Alternatively, you can place the forward foot on the block. It will increase the stretch on the hips and inner thigh.
- Place a folded towel under your back knee to enter the pose without any discomfort in the knee.
- Uttana pristhasana variation- From prone position cross your arms under your chest. Keep the legs straight and slightly apart. Raise the trunk and bittocks balancing the body on your knees and elbows. Finally, bring your chin and chest to the floor behind the arms.
- Twisted Lizard Pose- This is a bit challenging posture. After attaining the lizard pose, tilt your forward outwards opening the knee to the right. Bend your back knee and reach your left squeezing it towards the buttocks.
- Flying lizard pose- The forearms and front heel are raised from basic the lizard pose. The front leg is then wrapped around the corresponding elbow off the floor. The elbows are bent at 90 degrees, shifting the weight on palms lift the back leg off the floor with toes pointing backward.
- Lizard pose arm variation- With the left heel lifted and toes on the ground bring the left hand to your back. Maintaining the balancing on the front foot and back toes slide the right shoulder under the front knee grabbing the left wrist..
- Uttana pristhasana acts as a remedial pose for curing constipation and piles.
- People suffering from mental problems like stress, anxiety, etc. also observe healing effects due to this asana.
- Practicing this asana is beneficial even to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
- Another therapeutic action of the pose is relieving the back pain by lengthening the spine.
Lizard Pose Benefits
1. Promotes flexibility of chest and hips
The hips and chest are actively involved while holding the stretch. It expands the muscles in these regions. It improves the flexibility of glutes, hamstrings, and chest muscles. Thus, the upper body as well as the lower body becomes stronger.
2. Tones the abdominal muscles
The core is actively engaged while balancing the posture. It stimulates the abdominal muscles. It is proved beneficial for reducing belly fat.
3. Improves reproductive health
Lizard pose also influences the pelvic region, as it stretches the groins. This secretes stress hormone to this region and enhances blood flow to the reproductive organs. It helps in promoting the reproductive health of the practitioner.
A scientific study in 2019 [efn_note]Role of Yoga in the Management of Premature Ejaculation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7502310/ [/efn_note] to improve the sexual performance included uttana pristhasana into practice and showed positive and enhanced results.
4. Helps in releasing toxins
The detoxification system of the body is also improved with including lizard pose into regular practice. It stimulates internal organs like the kidney and liver. It promotes the hormonal balance as well as aids the natural detoxification process.
5. Strengthens spine and shoulders
The spine is kept elongated throughout the lizard pose practice. This stretch maintains the integrity of the spine and exercises it intensely. Also, the shoulders bear the weight of the body. It increases the endurance of these muscles and strengthens them.
6. Improve body balance
This asana works for improving the flexibility of hamstrings and hips muscles. Also, it enhances the concentration power, this eventually improves the sense of balance [efn_note] The Effect of Yoga on Balance https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1360859219300786 [/efn_note] in body.
7. Stimulates the energy chakras
This posture is beneficial in stimulating three-body chakras. It includes Swadhisthana (sacral), Manipura(solar plexus), and Anahata (heart) chakra. This is so because this posture stimulates the muscles around the torso, navel, and chest.
Include uttana pristhasana into your regular practice to get all these benefits. Besides these, this pose is beneficial to prepare the body for intense poses like Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) and Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana).
Step into a healthier and happier life by practicing the uttana pristhasana.