Lizard Pose

Lizard Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose) is similar to Lunge Pose (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana) but practiced resting on the forearms. This practice is a deep hip opener that also targets the gluteus maximus, hip flexors, hamstrings, shoulders and arms, including the lower back. Included in Vinyasa Yoga Sequences, the practice can help improve the flexibility of the leg muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and hip flexors. Since the primary focus are the hips, Lizard Pose is also seen practiced in Yin Yoga to help stretch and strengthen the deep connecting tissues like fascia.

In Sanskrit, ‘uttan’ = ‘stretch deep out’, and ‘pristha’ = ‘back of the body’, and ‘asana’ = ‘posture’. Utthan Pristhasana, is also called Lizard Pose. Lizards have a great flexible upper body and hence the back of the body in this posture resembles the stretched out lizard. And the practice of the same is said to bring the very same flexibility and suppleness in the back and the various muscles involved.

Lizard Pose is considered a base pose as lizard pose variations can be derived from this pose.Lizard Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale.
Step 2
Exhale as you step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Make sure your foot comes all the way to the front of your mat so your toes are in line with your fingers. Your right knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle and stacked above the ankle. Your toes should point out about 45 degrees.
Step 3
Inhale as you bring your elbows to the floor with your forearms flat on your mat. Spread your palms out on the floor (use a block underneath the forearms here if necessary). Keep your head in a neutral, relaxed position.
Step 4
Exhale and press into your left heel to keep your left leg active. This will help ensure your hips don't sag toward the floor. Stay for 5 deep, full breaths.
Step 5
When you're ready to release from the pose, exhale deeply and straighten your arms so your wrists are under your shoulders. Inhale and step back to Downward Dog.
Step 6
Stay in your starting pose for several breaths.
Step 7
Repeat the steps starting with your left leg forward to ensure the pose is performed equally on both sides.

Pose Detail

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches Hamstrings

Opens The Hips

Reduces Stress & Tension

Strengthens Leg Muscles

Preps For Deeper Stretches


Injury at the knee or hips

Weak shoulder joints or forearms

Not to be practiced if the lower back pain is severe

Photo poses in different angles


The back knee can be placed on the earth or you can raise it to provide a greater challenge during the posture.

Remember to stay up on the toes of the back foot, keeping the toes grounded into the mat.

Try to keep a long spine with the chest sinking to basically shoulder level.

Avoid allowing the neck and head to sink, keep the neck straight with your gaze forward.

Don’t become overly concerned about placing the forearms on the earth, keeping the arms straight with the palms on the ground perfectly acceptable.

Modifications & Variations
  • Lizard Pose Variation Foot On Block
  • Lizard Pose Elbows Block
  • Bound Lizard Pose Foot Behind Head
  • Lizard Pose Airplane Arms Under Knee
  • Flying Lizard Pose
  • Bound Lizard Pose
  • Bound Lizard Pose Foot Behind Head Variation
  • Lizard Pose Variation Holding Back Foot
  • Lizard Pose Variation One Knee On Floor Arms Stretched Forward
  • Twisted Lizard Pose Ankle Grip
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose
  • Low Lunge Pose
  • Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose
  • Revolved Low Lunge Pose Variation I
  • Half Pigeon Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.