Lizard
UTTHAN PRISTHĀSANA (उष्ट्रासन प्रिस्थासन)
(OOT-ahn prees-thahs-anna)

 


‘Uttāna’= intense stretch, extended, straight, or stretched, ‘Pristha’= back of the body,
‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Gecko Pose

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Prone / Stretch / Hip Opener / Balance

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart, keeping your back straight, your shoulders and arms down, and your palms facing forward. Raise your arms above your head and then bend at the hips into a forward bend. Place your hands on the mat and slightly bend your knees.
2. Step your right leg straight back, in line with the right hip, and into a lunge. Keep your foot flexed so that it rests on the ball of the foot. Spread your toes to root down through the ball of your foot.
3. Your left foot should be pointed forward, with your knee stacked over your ankle, and your hips squared to the mat. Straighten your back and your back leg, being sure not to hyperextend your knee. Engage your core and quadriceps for balance.
4. Bring your arms over to the inside of your left foot and place your forearms on the mat so that both elbows are down. If necessary, move your leg closer to the edge of the mat to allow space to bring your arms to the inside of your left foot. Align your elbows under your shoulders and next to your left foot.
5. Focus on aligning your spine so that you have a straight line from the crown of your head down to your right heel. Extend through your right heel to lengthen your leg (be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knee).
6. Gaze down and slightly forward toward your hands. Sink into your hips, deepening your stretch, without losing the alignment in your spine and front knee. Make sure your front knee stays close to the body.
7. Draw your shoulder blades together, opening your chest, and broadening your shoulders.
8. Breathe deeply and feel the stretch throughout your back and legs.
9. Hold for several breaths (about 20 seconds to increase strength and flexibility) and breath smoothly.
10. When ready, release the pose and slowly come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
11. Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Front knee extended past the ankle and/or toes
• Elbows out to the side / Elbows off the mat
• Hips too high or too low / Hips not squared to the mat
• Back foot not straight and aligned with the hips / Not on ball of foot
• Back knee locked or hyperextended
• Over-extension in groin area
• Strained neck or shoulders tense and up to the ears
• Back of neck not in line with the spine
• Chest collapsing toward the ground
• Front foot not pointed forward
• Trouble balancing or leaning to either side
• Spine arched or not in line from the crown to the back heel

Modifications
• For students who would like to deepen the stretch in their hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps, they can lower the back leg to the ground, resting the knee on the mat, while pressing the shin to the top of their foot to the mat.
• Students who have difficulty keeping their back leg straight, have tight hips, quadriceps, or hamstrings, or have discomfort in their knees, can place a block(s) under the forearms or bend the back knee to the mat. For additional knee support, they can place a blanket or bolster under their knee.
• Students who have discomfort in the shoulders or wrists can place their forearms on a pillow, blanket, or bolster.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
• Pigeon (Kapotasana)
• Hero (Virasana)
• Heron (Krounchasana)
• Seated Forward Bend Head to Knee (Janu Sirsasana)
• Revolved Seated Forward Bend Head to Knee (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
• Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
• Lord of the Fishes, Half (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Anatomy
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Abdomen (Core)• Lower Back (Lumbar) and Spine
• Hips (Psoas)• Gluteus Maximus
• Triceps and Biceps• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles and Knees• Ankles and Feet

Benefits
• Stretches and strengthens the neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, spine, the entire back, hips, groin, glutes, inner thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, and ankles. This also improves flexibility.
• Opens the neck, chest, shoulders, hips, psoas, groin, pelvis floor, lower back, and hamstrings.
• Lengthens the spine and helps with posture and alignment. This also helps to relieve low back stiffness and pain.
• Calms the mind, body, and nervous system, which helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, stress, mild depression, insomnia, and tension. Tension is especially relieved in the shoulders, neck, head, spine, and back.
• Massages internal organs, which improves digestion and activates the reproductive system.
• Helps with breath awareness and relaxation, as well as relieves headaches.
• Beneficial pose of athletes.

Contraindications
1. Students with sciatica, lower back injuries or pain, joint issues, or have hip replacements should avoid this pose.
2. Students with weak shoulder joints or forearms should use caution in this pose and seek modifications and guidance.
3. Students with severe neck, knee and/or hip injury, have low or high blood pressure, or have heart complications should avoid this pose.
4. Students with neck, shoulder, knee and/or hip discomfort should practice with modifications and/or props and proper guidance.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.

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