Dragon Yoga Pose, Lizard Pose: Benefits, How To, Variations

 The Dragon Yoga Pose, in Sanskrit Utthan Pristhasana (also known as Lizard pose ), is a popular posture in Yin Yoga classes. Dragon Pose can help to open up the front of your hips, release tension in the lower back, and deep stretch the thighs. 

 Holding postures for an extended period is a signature feature of Yin Yoga Poses, and the Dragon Pose (lizard Pose) is one of the most effective poses in this style. Practicing Dragon Pose can increase the range of motion, and flexibility, promote relaxation and cultivate mindfulness. 

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, this article will provide valuable insights and inspiration for your Yoga Pose journey. So let’s delve into the details and explore the benefits, how to and variations of this robust Yin Yoga posture.

The Benefits of Dragon Yoga Pose

Man black top and shorts Performing Twisted Dragon Yoga Pose. Lizard Pose.
Numerous Benefits with the Dragon Pose / Lizard Pose
  • Deep hip and groin opener that gets right into the connective tissue.
  • Dragon Stretches the back leg’s hip flexors and quadriceps
  • Many variations to help work deeply into the hip socket
  • It can help with sciatica and lower back pain

Contraindications

  • It can be uncomfortable for the kneecap or ankle. If you are stiff, the back thigh will be at a 90-degree angle to the front thigh, putting a lot of weight on the kneecap. Support the back knee with a folded blanket, or place a bolster under the shin, allowing the back knee off the floor.
  • Take caution if you have hip injuries or a very tight hip flexor.
  • Yin Yoga Teachers: Take care leading this pose if students are experiencing some or all of the above

Getting Into the Pose

  • Begin either on hands and knees or in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
  • Step one foot between the hands. Walk the front foot forward until the knee is right above the heel. Slide the back knee backward as far as you can.
  • Keep your hands on either side of the front foot.

Beginners' tips

  • Start by maintaining the position for 1 to 3 minutes since the feelings experienced in this stance can intensify.
  • Consider using a block vertically under the front thigh or hip to enhance comfort and relaxation.
  • Additionally, for added knee support, placing a blanket under your back knee can help alleviate any discomfort.

Yoga Props Accessibility Options

DIY YOGA Blocks and Props Blanket rolled up to make DIY yoga bolster substitute on Left. Used as a substitute yoga bolster to the Commercial grade yoga bolster on the right.
DIY Yoga Bolster Substitute - Made with a Rolled Blanket.
  • It can be uncomfortable for the kneecap or ankle. If you are stiff, the back thigh will be at a 90-degree angle to the front thigh, putting a lot of weight on the kneecap. Support the back knee with a folded blanket, or place a bolster under the shin, allowing the back knee off the floor.
  • Take caution if you have hip injuries or a very tight hip flexor.
  • Yin Yoga Teachers: Take care leading this pose if students are experiencing some or all of the above

Different Variations of the Dragon Yoga Pose or Lizard Pose

Baby Dragon Yoga Pose

Young woman performing baby dragon Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Baby Dragon Pose

The first Variation Pose is a simple low lunge called Baby Dragon Yoga Pose, as shown in the picture. If you like, you can rest your hands on the Yoga blocks. A staple dragon stretch.

Dragon Flying High Yoga Pose

Young woman performing dragon flying high Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Dragon Flying High Pose

The next option is to rest the arms or hands on the front thigh and lift the chest, increasing the weight over the hips. This is called Dragon Flying High Yoga Pose or simply Dragon Flying Pose.

Dragon Flying Low Yoga Pose

Young woman performing baby dragon flying low Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Dragon Flying Low Pose

A deep hip opener option, Dragon Flying Low Yoga Pose and is typically how a lizard pose is shown.  Place both hands inside the front foot and walk hands forward, lowering the hips. Come down on the elbows or rest them on a bolster or block for a low dragon stretch.

Twisted Dragon Yoga Pose

Young woman performing twisted dragon pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Twisted Dragon Pose

In Twisted Dragon Yoga Pose, your left hand pushes your front left knee to the side while the chest rotates to the sky. Do the opposite side with the right hand on the right knee and twist.  A sensation packed twisted dragon stretch.

Winged Dragon Yoga Pose

Young woman performing winged dragon Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Winged Dragon Pose

In Winged Dragon Yoga Pose, with hands on the floor, wing out the knee a few times, roll onto the side of your front foot and then stay there with the knee low. You could come down on the elbows or rest them on a Yoga block or bolster.

Overstepping Dragon Yoga Pose

Young woman performing Overstepping Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Overstepping Dragon Pose

The Overstepping Dragon Yoga Pose exercises the front ankle and Achilles tendon. From Baby Dragon, allow the front knee to come far forward or slide the heel backward until the heel is just about to lift off the ground.

Dragon Splits Yoga Pose

Young woman performing dragon splits Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Sit Up Dragon Splits Pose
Young woman performing dragon splits low Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Forward Fold Dragon Splits Pose

Dragon Splits Yoga Pose offers the deepest stretch for hip flexors. Straighten both legs into the splits. Support the front leg and hip with a bolster under the buttock for balance and to release weight; this relaxes the muscles. Sit up tall or forward fold the upper body for different sensations.

Fire Breathing Dragon Yoga Pose

Young woman performing Fire Breathing dragon Yoga pose. front knee is bent and above knee back leg is bent and knee on the gorund
Fire Breathing Dragon Pose

Add some Yang with the Fire Breathing Dragon Yoga Pose. In any of the above dragon variations, tuck the back toe under and lift the knee, lengthening the leg. Lifting the knee puts more weight on the hip joints, increasing the stretch.

Coming Out of the Dragon Yoga Pose

Move your hands to the Downward Facing Dog position, move the back knee forward a bit, tuck the back toes under, and with a nice groan, step back to Down Dog.

Counter Yoga poses

  • A short Downard Facing Dog is delicious. Bend one knee, lift that heel, push the opposite heel down, and switch sides repeatedly.
  • Child’s Pose feels good after Down Dog and before moving to the Dragon’s other side.

Meridians & Organs Affected by Dragon Yoga Pose

The meridians and Organs affected are Stomach, Spleen, Liver, Gall Bladder, Kidneys (and even the Urinary Bladder in the Dragon Flying High or the Dragon Splits High).

Joints Affected By Dragon Yoga Pose

  • Hips and ankles;
  • Lower back in the backbend options.

Recommended Hold Times

  • Shorter Hold each dragon variation for one minute and cycle through all of them.
  • Longer Hold just one dragon variation for three to five minutes.

Similar Yang Yoga Poses

Low lunge (Anjaneyasana) or Lizard Pose

Other Notes

You may not feel anything in the outer hip joint. If your hip flexors or quadriceps are tight, that area will take all the stress. The dragon  Yoga pose is still good, but if you wish to work your hip mobility, you must explore other Yoga postures.

Make Dragon Yoga Pose Part of your Regular Yoga Practice

The Dragon Yoga Pose (lizard pose) is a valuable addition to any yin yoga practice, especially for those seeking to increase flexibility in tight hips, release tension, and promote relaxation. 

Whether new to the benefits of Yin Yoga postures or a seasoned practitioner, incorporating the Dragon Pose into your routine can help you access the deeper layers of your physical, mental, and emotional being. 

In addition, you can reap the benefits of this powerful Yin posture on and off the mat by cultivating awareness, breath control, and a meditative mindset.

Sources

Bernie Clark 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anjaneyasana

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