Lizard Pose – Utthan Pristhasana
Hip opening Lizard Pose can counteract the effects of running, biking, and sitting to bring back the love to tight hips. Gravity helps to improve hip flexibility while the forearms rest on the ground in Lizard Pose until ready for a deeper immersion into the pose with hands bound behind back near the forward leg. Lizard Pose is a wonderfully relaxing pose to repeat on each side 2-5 times each until the tension gives way to freedom. Feel the openness in the hips after practicing this pose when standing, walking, climbing stairs, as well as when engaging in other activities. Imbalances in the hip flexors lead to scoliosis, forward drop of the pelvis, and in women forward tilt of the uterus effecting fertility. Outward rotation of the feet, especially in men is a common sign that hip flexors are to tight. Practice Lizard to pose to liberate the hips, breath and function of the entire body.
How to Practice Lizard Pose
Starting from Downward Dog Pose step the right leg forward between the hands. Square the hips and make sure they are level. Use a mirror if necessary until you have established the sense of where your hips are in space. The back leg should extend back in straight line; uncurl the toes so the top of the foot rests on the mat.
The leg forward is bent with the knee staying behind the toes, ground the four corners of the foot to evenly press the mat and send the energy back to the hips.
Bring the right arm to the inside of the right knee, level the shoulders, bend the elbows and rest both forearms on the mat in alignment with the ankle of the forward leg. If this is too much stay on the hands until the body releases enough to bring the elbows to the mat. Engage the front leg to press in toward the arms or midline at all times while in Lizard Pose. Breath 5 counts of coupled inhalations and exhalations. To break the pose press up onto the hands, return the right arm to the outer side of the right leg, lift the hips, and come back into downward dog. Repeat with the left leg. Do this pose 2-5 times.
After much regular practice of Lizard Pose the hands can bind behind the back over the bent leg thigh. The core muscles engage as the arm closest to the bent leg wraps in front of and around the leg palm facing up to clasp hold of the wrist of the opposite arm that extends backwards across the back to meet. There should be no straining or pain to bind the arms. Breath remains stable and slow. There is no rush; it is the journey in which bliss is discovered each new day.
Lizard pose provides a nice toning action on the muscles of the neck and shoulder as the shoulders move away from the head, elongating the neck gracefully, drawing the shoulder blades down and inward on the back. Relax the jaw and breathe through the nostrils deep slow breaths.
Stretches ilio-psoas muscles of each hip of leg in extension
Tones the ilio-psoas muscles of each hip of leg forward
The ilio- psoas muscles are part of our core power, residing deep to the center on either side of the spine from the transverse processes and bodies of lumbar vertebrae L1-L5, internal pelvic basin to common insertion of lesser trochanter of the femur (thigh bone). Ilio-psoas is deeper and more central to our core power, more so than the abdominal muscles that rest superficially and easier to manipulate, feel and literally see.
Lizard Pose relieves low back stiffness. Breathing deep and slow in Lizard Pose has a profound influence on the hips being able to open, as the connective tissues of the diaphragm, pelvis and abdominal cavity are one. Reversely a tight ilio-psoas affects the depth of breath.
In Lizard Pose when the forearms are settled on the mat elongation of the spine is possible, it is important to maintain this when binding the arms behind the back over the bend leg, which will open the chest simultaneous.
Correction of ilio-psoas balance supports center of gravity for all movements involved in standing, walking, dance, walking stairs, jumping and flexion of both torso and thighs. Sacro-iliac joints (junction where the hip bones move on the sacrum) are encouraged to move smoothly.
It is not the look of the pose that matters as much as the quality of the feeling of the pose for each person and proper joint alignment.
Precautions and Tips
Those with recent groin injury, sciatica should seek medical advice before practicing Lizard Pose. For all practitioners of Yoga poses, breath and wait for body to give a little and a little with each passing breath. Awareness, good form is primary over range of movement. Enjoy the fascia stretching and avoid any kind of sharp pain.
It may be of interest the large intestine, male & female productive system, urinary bladder, prostate gland and perineum are supplied by spinal nerve segments Lumber plexus group L1-5, as are some abdominal muscles, hip muscles, leg and foot muscles. Lizard Pose can help relax the ilio-psoas and positively influence changes to other areas of the body.
Alternative and complimentary poses to Lizard Pose is Crescent Moon Pose, Half Legged Pigeon Pose, and Camel Pose.
Good counter strain poses are Seated Forward Bend Pose, Maha Mudra and Half Spinal Twist. Enjoy the Benefits of your Yoga Practice. Namaste.