Lizard pose, or Utthan Pristhasana in Sanskrit, is a challenging posture because it opens your hips, which can often get tight from sitting all day.

Read on to open your tired, tight hips and explore the challenge of lizard pose!

What Is Lizard Pose?

Lizard pose is a split-leg, hip-opening yoga pose that helps you decrease tension in your body. Opening your hips may also help you alleviate low back pain and will increase your hip-joint mobility.

“Our hips are prone to being so tight, so this is a posture that you need to ease your way into,” recommends Ali Jehn, a 200-hour RYT yoga teacher based in Boulder, Colorado. “Once there, it does open up the hips, which is ideal because we so rarely find the full range of motion in the hips.”

Lizard Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Begin in downward facing dog. Inhale your right leg high for three-legged dog. Exhale to step your right foot between your hands for a low lunge.
  • Shift your right hand on the inside of your right foot. Toe-heel your right foot to the edge of your yoga mat. Keep your right knee aligned over your ankle. Plant your right foot into your mat.
  • Keep your shoulders stacked over your wrists or drop down to your elbows (make the number 11 with your forearms) for a deeper stretch.
  • Lengthen your back leg long and straight. Squeeze your glutes to keep your hips squared. Push the backside of your knee toward the ceiling to engage your leg muscles. You have the option to drop down to your back knee for a passive stretch.
  • Gaze down toward your mat.
  • Hold for a few breaths. Move through downward facing dog and repeat on the other side.

Benefits of Lizard Pose

The benefits of lizard pose include the following:

  • Stretching your hip flexors, inner groin, and hips.
  • Cultivating awareness and building a working relationship between the quads and the hip flexors.
  • Helping open the chest and lengthen the spine while also opening the hips.

Lizard pose is a superb hip-opener for anyone looking to improve their flexibility. It’s also great for runners, as it relieves tightness in the hips.

Lizard Pose Variations

Woman Holds Twisted Lizard Pose | Lizard Pose

Lizard pose by itself can be a pretty intense posture, but the numerous variations amp it up to a downright crazy yoga pose.

Twisted lizard pose

  • From lizard pose with your right leg forward, rest your back knee on the mat and draw your left foot toward your left glute (bending your leg in half).
  • Stack your shoulders over your wrists. Keep your left hand planted and reach your right arm back and grab your left foot. Twist your chest open and align your shoulders.
  • Settle your hips down to feel a deep stretch in both your hips and your quadriceps.
  • Release your foot and return to lizard pose. Press back to downward facing dog and swap out your legs. Repeat on the other side.

Flying lizard pose

  • From Lizard Pose with your hands on the mat, hook your front right knee over your right elbow.
  • Shift your weight forward and bend your elbows to 90 degrees (think chaturanga arms). Engage your core and hover your right foot away from the mat.
  • Lift your back leg away from the mat and point your back foot. “Play around to find that balance and transfer of weight to make that lift happen,” says Jehn.

Lizard pose is fun, challenging, and supports a variety of pose options. Play around on your mat and follow our Yoga52 program for more yoga inspiration.