Pose of the Month: Lizard, Utthan Pristhasana

Welcome to our month of discipline. And when we discuss discipline we do not mean correcting behavior through punishment, rather “activity or experience that provides mental or physical training.” When we look through so many aspects of yoga, they bring us back to this concept of discipline. The notion of Tapas, within the limb of the Niyamas, as well as the whole notion of Dharana or concentration, another limb of yoga are squarely grounded in discipline.

As we begin to unfold the concept of discipline this month, we want to move ourselves in the direction of discipline within an asana. We could think of no better place than Lizard Pose. I will be clear that my first experience with Lizard was fraught with concern and confusion. ‘How does one do that?’ and ‘How does one HOLD that?’ Utthan Pristhasana is a classic Yin posture and one that is routinely held for some time.

Utthan Pristhasana is a posture that takes quite a bit of body awareness as well as discipline to work our way into it with space and care.

Coming into Lizard:

  • You can come into Lizard from table posture. Find the way that best suits your body to bring your right foot in between your hands.
  • The back leg can stay grounded, or can start to walk its way back, being mindful of the weight placed upon the kneecap.
  • Breath into the space for as long as you like in this low lunge space.
  • When ready, bring the right hand to the inside of the right foot.
  • Here you may want to change the orientation of your back leg… perhaps moving it closer or further from the body, perhaps coming up onto the toes.
  • If it feels right allow the right knee to drift away from the midline of the body. You may wish to keep the foot planted on the mat, or you may come to rest on the outside of the right foot.
  • When the positioning of the legs feels good you may wish to change up the arms, coming down to the forearms.
  • Remember throughout that props can make Lizard feel like a dream!
  • Hold here for a few breaths, or if you are in YIN, a few minutes.
  • When ready, inhale the right leg up, walk the arms/hands back to a lengthened space, and find your way back to table to prepare for the other side.

Breathing throughout, and noting that this sort of opening takes time, it takes discipline and persistence. It also takes incredible love and patience with ourselves. You are worth ALL of this in the upcoming weeks! Treat yo’ self!