Lizard Pose

The lizard pose is a yoga pose that is great for opening the hips. In their work with their clients, many fitness trainers use this pose because of its effectiveness. It is one of the series of yoga poses that are accepted in the world of fitness.

Utthan Pristhasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose. Utthan in translation from Sanskrit means stretching, and Pristha in literal translation means a page of a book. In this very pose, it means the back of the body. Asana means posture.


This is a hip opening pose.  The idea is to practice lizard variations if you are still not open enough in this part of the body. We will discuss more about how to properly perform this pose and about its variations in the second part of this article.

By practicing this asana, you simultaneously work on the following chakras within your body: Manipura (solar plexus), Swadisthana (sacral chakra), and Muladhara (root chakra).

In addition to the physical benefits that you will gain by practicing this pose, feel free to practice the lizard pose if you feel that your chakras are out of balance.

Fire, water, and earth are the elements that are associated with this asana.


The lizard pose is mainly practiced within the Vinyasa and Yin styles of yoga, which certainly does not diminish the importance and application of this pose within the other styles of yoga.

Within the framework of Yin style yoga, the emphasis is placed on staying in the pose for a longer period of time. By staying longer in certain poses, you allow your body to open up quite gently, without any strain or forcing. Accordingly, the practice of Yin yoga is excellent if you want to open in a very gentle way in certain parts of your body.

Practicing lizard pose can be quite challenging if the hips are not open.  If your hips are not open, you can start by practicing simpler variations of this pose.

We definitely advise you to do the following three poses before practicing the full lizard pose. Feel free to combine all three poses into one mini-sequence.

The first pose is the cradle pose (Hindolasana). During this pose, you pull your hip out of the joint very gently. In addition, practicing this pose gives you a fine stretch for your hamstrings and groin.

The next pose is the bound-angle pose (Baddha Konasana). In addition to stretching your groin, this pose is also good for stretching and warming up your hip flexors.

The third pose that you can practice in this mini-sequence is the half-happy baby pose. This pose also opens your hips. However, it falls into the category of basic poses so, for that fact, it is an integral part of this mini-sequence.

Given that the first and third poses are done first for the right and then for the left side, while the second pose affects both the right and left sides at the same time, you are free to stay in each pose for ten breaths.

First, do the mini-sequence for the right side. Then, repeat it for the left side. During this mini-sequence, try to breathe deeply. Your exhalation should always be twice as long as your inhalation.

When it comes to the full lizard pose, you can enter it from a downward-facing dog. With an inhale, you can step your right foot forward. When lunging, make sure that your right knee is exactly above your ankle.

After the lunge, your left leg will be fully extended back with your toes being pointed. The full pose involves placing your forearms on the yoga mat on the inside of your right foot. Your spine from the base of the spinal column to the nape of the neck should have an upward line. Your gaze can be directed to the tip of your nose. In this pose, breathe deeply and calmly.

If you are unable to place your forearms on the yoga mat, feel free to extend your arms, leaving only your palms down. If you still want to lower your forearms to the floor but aren’t able to complete this final part, you can lower your forearms to the blocks. The blocks will give you the necessary support and security.

There is also a variation in the knee of the leg that is extended backwards. In this variation, you will feel a greater stretch in the groin of the extended leg.

From this pose, where your knee is extended on the yoga mat, you can go into the next variation of the lizard. If your left leg is stretched back and your left knee is on the yoga mat, you can place your right palm on your right knee and thus open your hips even deeper. In this variation, your left forearm is on the yoga mat, while your upper body goes to the left side. In this pose, your spine relaxes.


The main benefit that you can get from practicing this pose is to deeply open your hips and increase your flexibility.

Also, thanks to this pose, you will achieve a fine stretch of your hamstrings and quadriceps.

The muscles of the glutes and shoulders are shaped better and become stronger. The entire shoulder girdle and chest are opened.

Women who want to reduce the symptoms of menopause should regularly practice the lizard pose.

Practicing this pose has been proven to reduce the percentage of fat around your stomach and hips.


Since lizard pose is a challenging pose, we recommend you start slowly.  Practice the preparatory postures like baddha konasana, and happy baby pose, and then move on to the lizard pose.  The ideal situation for beginners is to incorporate these asanas in a yin yoga style.

Although you may practice more demanding styles (Vinyasa and Ashtanga), we do not recommend that you immediately start practicing the lizard pose within these styles. Because of the dynamics that exist within these styles, you can more easily experience possible injuries while practicing new asanas.

We also advise you not to practice the lizard pose if you have recently had an injury or surgery involving your back, knees, groin, or hips. You should also not practice this pose if you have acute sciatica or any back ailments.

During the pose, let your gaze be directed to the tip of your nose, your thoughts in focus, and as always breath deeply and calmly.

About the author

Urosh Martinovic

Urosh Martinovic is a yoga and mindfulness teacher. He has experience in more than 7,000 guided classes. His work includes 1 on 1 online classes and workshops. Uros is a founder of holistic portal for Balkan Moja Solja Joge (My cup of yoga).