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.
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