Svadhyaya (Self-Study) – September 2021 – Ardha Hanumanasana & Utthan Pristhasana – Half Monkey & Lizard Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras and representative Asanas with the fourth of the NiyamasSvadhyaya or Self-Study and discussing Ardha Hanumanasana and Utthan Pristhasana.

Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Ardha Hanumanasana (ARD-huh HAH-nuh-mah-NA-sa-nuh) or Half Monkey Pose and Utthan Pristhasana (OOT-han Pris-THAH-sa-nuh) or Lizard Pose are my choices to represent Svadhyaya. I feel like I am literally looking at myself in these poses, a perfect embodiment of self-reflection. Also, flowing between these poses has been both a strategy and a way to monitor my progression working forward splits!

Bonus Daily Asana Challenge

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Svadhyaya Day today, I recommend an alignment-focused Iyengar class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my old favorites with both of today’s poses – Intermediate Flexibility (30 Minutes) which works these poses.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Half Monkey and Lizard Pose for Svadhyaya Day! I enjoy flowing between these two Asanas to work my flexibility for Hanumanasana or Full Splits! I recommend working both of these Asanas on one side, and then switching and repeating on the other side.

Instructions are for each pose with the LEFT side. Make sure to repeat this sequence on both sides!

Ardha Hanumanasana – Half Monkey Pose

Ardha Hanumanasana - Half Monkey Pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Ardha Hanumanasana – Half Monkey Pose

Start in a comfortable kneeling position. Come up onto your knees, and bring your left foot forward placing your heel on the mat, keeping your hips above your right knee. Hinge forward slightly at the waist, and place your hands on each side of your straight left leg to support your upper body. If comfortable, bring your forehead down towards your left shin, making sure to keep your hips stacked over your right knee. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. To come out, lift your upper body and either bring your left leg back to kneeling, or plant your left foot to come forward into Lizard Pose.

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

Utthan Pristhasana – Lizard Pose

 Utthan Pristhasana - Lizard Pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Utthan Pristhasana – Lizard Pose

This Asana has many variations to fit your body and flexibility. I prefer to enter this pose by flowing forward from Half Monkey, or shifting my front leg and lowering down from a Low Lunge.

Step and plant your left foot, keeping your knee directly above the ankle. Move your left foot out a few inches to the left, and hug your knee towards your shoulder. Plant your palms on the ground in front of you to support your upper body while you set your lower body. Keep your right leg straight back – you can rest your knee on the ground for a more passive hip-opening, or come up onto your right toes and straighten your leg for a more intense stretch. You can stay on your hands, or lower down onto your elbows for a deeper stretch. To come out, come back up onto your hands, and either press back into Half Monkey, or step your left foot back to come into Downward Dog.

Utthan Pristhasana - Lizard Pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Utthan Pristhasana – Lizard Pose (Beginner)

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

Instructions are for each pose with the LEFT side. Make sure to repeat this sequence on both sides!

Journal DaY

Our first Svadhyaya Day, we started journals to have a source for self-study. I am using Svadhyaya Days to keep up with this practice.. perhaps make another journal entry with me today! If you are not sure what to write about, you can use my prompt for today – I have always associated September (after Labor Day) with the start of the academic school year since I grew up outside of Boston. So, what is something you have always wanted to learn – a hobby, an academic topic, a language, a sport… whatever it is, write about what you want to learn and why, and consider this for your Tapas daily habit!


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PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Half Monkey, Lizard, or another set of Asanas to work Splits before? Always remember, be kind!

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