Asana of the Week: Utthan Pristhasana

Utthan Pristhasana, also known as Lizard pose, is a fantastic and versatile hip opener. I love this pose because there are tons of ways to incorporate it into a vinyasa sequence. It works well during longer lunge-based sequences as an opportunity to reconnect with the breath or as a means to prepare the hips for deeper hip openers like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (half-pigeon) and Hanumanasana.

Utthan Pristhasana works the inner thigh and quadriceps of the front leg while opening the back of the hip and groin. In the back leg, the hip flexor receives a nice stretch while the whole thigh is engaged. The spine is lengthened as the sternum reaches forward to bring the shoulders directly over the elbows. The forearms rest parallel on the mat, palms down, fingertips engaged. If the hips are tight, it may be uncomfortable to come down to rest on the forearms. In this case, stay up on the hands, broaden across the shoulders and extend the heart forward.

Squeeze the knee of the front leg into the shoulder to engage the inner thigh and prevent the knee from collapsing out to the side. The toes may be pointed out slightly, but continue to actively ground down through the mound of the big toe. Keep the back leg straight and strong by hugging the thigh muscles to the bone and extending back through the heel.

Utthan Pristhasana Sequence

1. Cresent lunge
2. Virabhadrasana III
(Warrior 3)
3. Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing splits)
4. Utthan Pristhasana
(Lizard pose)
5. Forearm Plank
6. Forearm Side Plank
6. Dolphin pose
7. Pincha Mayurasana
(forearm balance) OR Salamba Sirsana (supported headstand)
8. Child's pose


  1. I love this pose! Most of my students don't though, judging from the looks on their faces... ;) It's especially hard for my big-buff-tight-in-hips boys so I usually offer it with the back knee down as an additional modification.

    As for me... I'm working on licking my mat like a lizard. LOL

  2. I wanted to thank you for this sequence. I've been incorporating it in my morning practice. I like the flow, as well as some extra work on the upperbody (I do 1-6, then switch sides then do 7).

  3. You're welcome, mrafalski. I'm so glad it's working for you. I love that little bit of extra upper body work, too. It does great things for my shoulders and upper back.

  4. Love it! Thanks for using the Sanskrit. It's my word of the day: Utthan Pristhasana!

  5. Im enjoying your blog. Thank you.