Finding Joy in Movement

Utthan Pristhasana/ Lizard Pose

Lizard pose is one of my favorite hip stretches. With a simple adjustment, you can make this either a deep inner hip stretch (described below) or an outer hip one.

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. Sink the torso down to the inside of the left thigh.

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.

Squeeze the left knee in toward the left shoulder, making sure to keep as much weight on the inside of the foot as the outside. If you have the right knee down on the floor, one of my favorite things to play around with is to press into the top of the right foot into the floor to engage the quad. Notice how the stretch at the hips changes.

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!

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