Lizard pose is one of my favorite hip stretches. This is the outer hip variation. For the inner hip variation, see here.
From Downward Dog, take an inhale to lift the left leg behind you. As you exhale, bring the left foot just to the outside of the left hand. Keep the toes of the left foot pointed straight forward. You have two options here – drop the back knee or keep it lifted. If you keep it lifted, strongly extend through the leg and lift the back of the knee up toward the ceiling.
Let the left knee drop to the side as you roll to the outside of the left foot. This is similar stretch to pigeon except that the hips are floating and the foot is a bit further forward. As the left knee moves to the side, sink the torso down towards the floor. Depending on flexibility, you can walk the hands forward and bend the elbows a bit, while some of you might come all the way down on to the forearms. If you come down to the forearms, bring the left forearm down first to really sink into the left inner hip, then bring the right one down. The tendency in this pose is for the right hip to drop significantly lower than the left and this can help to even that out a bit. Try and develop an awareness of how the pelvis is oriented in this pose.
Lengthen the spine by extending the sternum forward to the front of the mat, while at the same time drawing the shoulder blades comfortably down the back. Close the eyes and study the sensations of the pose, especially around the hips. Stay for as long as you like, then repeat for the same amount of time on the second side.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!