Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 5

Lizard Hip Flow

30 min - Practice


As the lizard absorbs warmth from its environment, let us use the warmth we generate to shed tension, and feel more soft and moveable in our bodies. Melina guides a practice to discover pathways towards Lizard and ease tension in the body and mind. We move through seated and standing postures warming the hips, variations of Sun Salute to warm and strengthen the legs and open the front body, and find our version of Lizard with the support of blocks, finding space and stability in the hips. You will feel spacious, relaxed, and focused.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Block (2)

About This Video

Jun 23, 2021
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Hello everyone, welcome back in for our next adventure together. Today for our practice it will be helpful to have a bolster or a blanket that you might use instead of a bolster rolled up as well as a couple of blocks. So I'm excited to take us towards our lizard pose today. So when you're ready, if we sit down on your mat, stretch your legs out in front of you and then have a bolster or a rolled blanket ready to catch the back of your rib cage, a block in the flat or medium position, I'm going to turn mine to the medium, to catch the head. So when you roll your bowl rib cage back over the bolster, slide that block underneath your head and you want to make sure that you feel like your shoulders are wrapping around the bolster.

So there's space for your arms to reach out to your side, out in line with your chest. We might put the legs down on the floor with your heels, perhaps out on the edges of your sticky mat and the shoulder blades won't necessarily be touching the floor, they're kind of supported by your bolster and let gravity take the arms back. And when everything feels like it's in the right place, let's start to, if we can, soften our body into the props, the block, bolster, floor, a sense, if you will, if there's any warmth in your environment to draw into your body, and if we act like the lizard again that absorbs warmth from the environment, can we use that warmth from our environment to help us shed some tension that might live in our front body, that might be in your shoulders, the abdominal area, or your legs, what it would be like to shed your skin so to speak and be free of perhaps some tension so that our front body, back body feels a little bit more soft, more movable, and then for part of our practice today we're going to focus a little bit more on your eyes and your tongue. So while we're in this back bend shape, see if we can bring a little bit more awareness to your eyes shifting a little bit left to right with your eyes maybe closed and then maybe a little bit diagonal looking with your eyes closed and the way you might imagine a lizard kind of checking out the environment, moving its eyes in all different directions. Not so fast that you get dizzy but just moving your eyes and keeping the eye socket lubricated.

Once you've felt your eyes settle into your face a little bit, then see if you can bring a little more awareness to the jaw area and release any gripping that you might hold there. And as we work toward releasing gripping there, notice the muscle of the tongue gets a little bit more relaxed so that you could let your tongue maybe reach out a little bit out in front of you. You can stick your tongue out like a little lizard releasing the jaw muscle, the tongue, the throat. And often times if we're able to do that we might notice that the eyes stay soft, that the lower back is no longer gripped. If we're able to let the tongue reach out in that playful way, catching the scent of the environment, perhaps like a lizard.

So we'll keep tuned into the eyes and the tongue like lizards here in our practice today. And the next move I'd like you to consider is when you're ready to bend your legs, you put your feet on the ground. From here we're going to tip over onto your right side and you might need to lift up to turn to your right side but we're going to keep your bolster where it is, block where it is and then thread that right arm between your bolster and your block. If you keep your legs bent maybe 90 degrees, take your left hand on top of your right hand so both arms are reaching straight out in front of you and then we'll float that left hand off your right hand and then float your left arm right above your ear, turn your left palm toward the ceiling and reach it back behind you to the left a few inches, opening that left chest, then take your left hand back to your right hand, left hand again sweeps back over to the left and maybe you start to turn your gaze towards the ceiling or left hand, left hand back to the right. Two more, let that left arm stretch open to the left, open that corner of your chest, left hand to the right and maybe shed a little bit more tension in that left corner of your chest and pause, take a big full breath and to the left side of your chest as you soften into your eyes and maybe even stick your tongue out here like the lizard.

As we close the mouth, bring the left hand back to your right hand, press your left hand into your prop and then lift yourself up and then turn if you will over to your left sides. So we'll keep the ribs on your bolster or roll blanket, left arm between the bolster and your block, legs about 90 degrees and if you will stack your hands together so arms are reaching straight out from the shoulder line and then take your right arm and float it right beside your right ear and turn right palm towards the ceiling and start to reach your right arm out to the right, right hand back to your left hand, right arm floats above your right ear, right palm towards the ceiling, open up that right chest, right hand back to left hand and two more times if it feels okay to look towards your right hand, move your head, turn your eyes a little bit more to the right, right hand back to left. Now this last time we'll take a moment to pause and try to shed some tension or stress in this right side of your chest and see if it feels good to let your eyes maybe close, look inward, maybe let the mouth open and your tongue stretch out like a little lizard for a moment and then let's bring your right arm back over to your left. So right hand touches left. Now please lift up again and as you lift up let's set your bolster off to your sides and keep your blocks out of the way for a moment as you come down onto your back with no props.

When you are on your back with your arms at your side let's go ahead and tip your right knee towards your chest. Stretch your right leg up towards the ceiling, start to draw a circle with your right foot on the ceiling to get that right head of the femur moving in this ball and socket joint. And then after we do a little bit of moving in that way let's go ahead and grab that right knee with both hands and do a little external rotation to send that right knee off to the side of your chest. Now raise your right foot a few inches so it's easier to catch your right foot with both hands, float your right foot above your belly, navel or chest and then take your left leg up towards the ceiling. Keep your left ankle flexed as you lower your left leg down towards the floor and take your leg back up in the air, left leg comes down towards the floor, floats back up, comes down on exhale, float back up.

Now this next time that your left leg is parallel to the floor, draw your head up towards your right foot and notice that you lift that right amount that still allows you to be a little bit like that lizard and stick your tongue out. You're aware of keeping that muscle relatively soft, eyes relaxed into the face or maybe even close your eyes one more moment and then bring your head down to the floor. Let's bring the bottoms of your feet to touch for a moment, squeeze your feet together, sink your heels towards your pelvis and let your knees move away from your shoulders. Heels pressed together, bottoms of the feet pressed together for one more breath. Then let's put your right foot down and raise your left leg in the air with your arms at your side, start to circle that left leg and make a few circles with your foot on the ceiling.

Feel how that ball and socket is moving today. And then let's go ahead and tip that left knee in towards your chest, hold that knee with your hands and then create that external rotation, left knee beside your chest, raise your left heel in the air a few inches so you can grab your left foot with both hands. Keep that external rotation on your left leg, right leg towards the sky and then slowly drop your right leg towards the floor, leg comes up. So imagine this right leg is like your tail and we're stretching that leg down and lengthening your tail as you reach through that right leg. Reach down, lengthen your tail away from your head.

This last time, let's keep that image of that long leg, that long tail as you lift your head off the floor and then see if we're lifting the right amount that allows you to relax your throat and then relax your tongue by sticking it out like a lizard might do. Just for a moment, eyes relaxed, right leg long, that's your tail and then come down onto the floor with your head and reach up and grab your right foot now with your right hand, come to happy baby pose for a moment. So heels are above your knees, maybe rocking a tiny bit side to side to massage that back body. Okay, maybe consider again, still trying to shed some tension here as we've got the earth beneath us. Okay, now if you will, open your arms out to your sides, parallel to your arms and stretch your right leg out to the right, keep your left leg in that happy baby, so to some degree it looks like you're doing warrior two pose on your back.

And then let's bend your right leg back to that happy baby move, left leg kicks out to the left, so now it looks like you're doing warrior two, again here, still on your back with your right leg bent. Let's try again, bend your left leg, stretch your right leg straight, warrior two on your back, bend your right knee, stretch your left leg out to the left. Now have both legs up in the air in that big V shape and then slowly bring your legs together on exhale, keep pressing your arms into the floor as you open your legs wide, legs together, legs open wide and legs together. I'm not sure if lizards ever spend time on their back, opening their belly towards the sky, but you could imagine you've somehow rolled over onto your back as the lizard and letting the lights, the sun come into your front belly area as we open the hips and inner legs one more cycle. Next time your legs come together, we'll try to keep that warmth in our belly as we put our feet down, turn over to your right side and let's go ahead and use your right arm as your pillow.

So if you'll fold that arm, slide your knees up in line with your hips and then from here we'll take the left hand on your thigh and do just a couple of clam shells, just a couple to lift your left thigh, lower down, lift your left thigh, lower down. One more time, lift your left thigh and then lower down. Let your legs straight, make that long tail, turn onto your belly and slide your elbows just in front of your chest. From here with your toes curled under, you're in that sphinx-like pose, look a little bit towards your fingertips with soft eyes. As you exhale, lift the thighs and belly off the floor, stick your tongue out in that little lizard action as you look towards your knees.

Lower your thighs, belly, back to the floor, look forward, mouth closed. As you exhale, lift your thighs, your belly, lift off the floor and do your lizard tongue move, back to the floor. One more time and you might lift your knees and see if you like that version with the knees up, look towards your feet, stick out your tongue in that lizard way and then come on down. Now go ahead and tilt onto your left side, left arm is your pillow, legs at 90 degrees, right hand on your outer right thigh and three times, let's lift your right leg up, you push against your right hand, lower down, lift back up, lower down and then lift up and lower down. Stretch your legs long again, turn onto your belly, legs are your tail and take just a moment with your toes curled under, elbows in front of your chest to create your sphinx pose for a moment as you float the crown of the head towards the sky.

One more breath wide, open chest, inhale and lower your chest, put your hands beside the chest and then raise yourself up into a downward dog for just a moment to work out any kinks in your legs, shedding any tension, stiffness in the shoulders. One more exhale just getting oriented in that pose and then we'll go ahead and walk your feet up towards the top of your mat. From your forward fold, bend your knees and drop the head towards the floor, see if you can shed some tension in this position, in your shoulders, mid, back. One more exhale and then come up the best way for you, circle your arms wide, perhaps raise your arms up towards the sky and then gather your hands in front of your chest as you take a moment in mountain pose to center yourself. When you're ready, let your arms drop to your side and see if you can find where your two blocks are.

I'm going to grab your blocks and if you'll turn them to that long position, squeeze them together and then just transfer your blocks right in front of your thighs, look straight ahead in your mountain pose, press down into your feet and let's raise your arms with those blocks up in the air above your head and squeeze the blocks together with your hands. Get longer and taller here. As we exhale, bend your knees and tip forward and put the blocks down to the sides of your yoga mat, fold over the legs and then let's step back with your right leg and your left leg so you end up in plank position. Swing your hips up into the air into downward dog, head down, hips up and then let's transfer your right foot forward, left foot in and down for warrior one stance. You might bring your hands to your hips, lift your torso, make sure you feel stable in your feet and let's take the arms up towards your ears in our warrior and then let's from here your arms circle behind your back, place your fingers together.

Let's see if you can squeeze between your shoulder blades, stretch your arms away from your back and find the appropriate opening in your chest that still allows you to relax your throat and your tongue so like a lizard, let the tongue stick out, soft, relaxed eyes. Now wiggle your right foot another inch to the right, tilt your right knee open to the right an inch or two and tilt forward when your torso is parallel to the floor, raise your arms up and look at your back left foot, come all the way back up, unleash your fingers and step your left foot forward, feet are hip distance apart, come into a squat as you raise your arms up by your ears, forward fold, exhale, step back one leg at a time into your push-up of plank, from our plank position swing your hips up and back downward dog and then bring your second side forward so let's bring your left foot forward, turn your right foot in and down, warrior one, lift your arms up, make sure your feet feel stable and then circle your arms behind your back, lace your fingers together again and squeeze between your shoulder blades as you stretch your arms back and notice if you're working that right amount that allows you to relax your tongue, your throat and stick your tongue out like a lizard, eyes relaxed, open your left foot an inch to the left, tilt that left thigh open an inch and maybe we tip forward so your ribs touch the inner left leg and then look down at your back right foot, arms stretch towards the sky. Now let's drop your hands to the floor, right leg is going back an inch, left leg goes back so you end up in plank pose, now let's slither on our belly for a moment, knees down, belly down and keep that soft belly on the earth as you point your toes back so we're lengthening our tail and then inhaling, curl the chest away from the ground, in your cobra can you do a little lizard tongue, close the mouth as you're ready back into your downward facing dog on exhale, now from here let's walk the feet back up now between your hands, bend your ankles and knees, chair pose, come on up, straight legs, arms down at your side. One more time from the feet grounding, raise your arms if it feels good, look up, open that front body, fold forward over your legs with bent legs, take one leg at a time back into your plank push up position, downward facing dog exhale and now let's bring your right foot forward this time into a lunge position with the back heel lifted, take your hands to your hips, lift your torso for a moment in that high lunge and swing your arms up towards your ears, reach behind your back, lace your fingers together, open that chest for a breath, see if you can wiggle your right foot an inch to the right, stick your tongue out like a lizard, close the mouth and maybe as we tip forward we look down at the floor, raise your arms up towards the sky, lift your chest a few inches and grab those blocks, one for each hand, let's take the blocks to the inside of your right foot and then drop your left knee carefully to the floor, take your blocks in a flat wide position right inside that inner right foot and we're going to have the hands press onto your flat blocks, relax your back foot as if you're lengthening your tail, lengthening your left side as you look straight ahead pressing into your your flat blocks, stay here or drop your elbows to your blocks, look down and as you're looking down like some of if you've ever ridden a road bike you're kind of leaning forward in this way with your elbows on these blocks, let your right knee drift away from your right shoulder, so the pinky side of your right sorry the big toe side of your right foot lifts away from the ground, tilt your right knee back in towards your shoulder, send that knee open away from your arm or shoulder, stay where you're in a comfortable position here to get into that right hip and maybe see if you can notice that your eyes are soft moving easily in the eye socket like a lizard, tongue can stick out relaxing that throat area and tilt that knee back in, place your hands on the floor and then slide that right leg back you're in downward dog, transfer your left foot forward, keep your back heel up as we reach for the hips and come to our high lunge side too, take your arms up into the air by your ears, reach your arms behind your back open up that front chest after we do that rounding and lizard, maybe your left foot moves an inch to the left, bring your torso parallel to the floor look down at your blocks now as you raise your arms up towards the sky, unleash your fingers hands to the floor and carefully lower your right knee to the ground, we might move that left foot to the left, relax your back right toes and then put your hands on your flat blocks, look straight ahead, sink that right thigh a little bit towards the floor, we might tip that left knee now away from your arm or shoulder, tip it back in, see if you like putting your elbows on those flat blocks, so now you're kind of tipping forward, spread shoulder blades and as you keep your left leg tilted out to the left, see if you might be here now in a position to soften your eyes, stick your tongue out like a lizard, relaxing that tongue area, back body warming towards the sky and then let's tilt the left leg in and as you put your hands down, please slide the blocks off your mat, take that left leg back so you end up in your downward facing dog, lower your knees down to the floor and slide your feet to any sides, we're going to come down and have a seat, stretch your legs out in front of you and when you have your legs out in front of you, you might reach your fingertips for a moment, simply lengthen up through your spine, now let's take your left foot and slide that foot in towards your left thigh or navel area so you can hold that foot with your hands, let's take that left foot and move it a little bit to the right and left, so loosen up that ball and socket joint and then put your left foot to the outside of your right thigh, let's hold on to your left knee with both hands and then as we lift up nice and tall, let's do a little twist, hold on to your left leg, reach back with your left fingertips and just hug that left leg towards you as you turn your torso towards your left leg, can we stick our tongue out here, noticing that we're keeping the throat relaxed, jaw relaxed, come back to center, stretch your left leg forward, slide your right foot in and tip that right knee open to the side as you grab that foot with both hands and now let's move your right leg a little bit right and left, loosen up here, then settle your right foot outside your left thigh and hold on to your right knee with your hands as you sit tall, do our little twist as you hug that maybe right leg towards your belly, put your right fingertips on the floor behind you and as you turn towards your right, are we in a position where our eyes are soft, moveable, can we stick the tongue out like a lizard, making sure that throat area is relaxed and then we'll come back around to center, when you're in your center position, if you'd like to finish in a cross-legged seat with maybe your bolster underneath you for a sitting meditation, please join me here, if you prefer to be on your back I want to invite you to set yourself up in a shavasana, perhaps with a bolster underneath your knees, underneath your hamstrings, so see if you can find a position where you feel again grounded, in your stable seat, see if you can imagine your tailbone becoming a longer tail that begins to root down towards the earth to provide more anchoring for your physical body, anchoring down into this long body, can we continue to feel some softness, encourage softness in the belly and the back, and perhaps to maintain that softness we imagine that we're drawing any warmth or light from our environment into our body, our muscles, our cells, the fascia, may that warmth help you soften and relax a little bit more into this breath, and the next, and then checking as we've been doing into the throat area and the jaw and feeling that lower palate release from the upper palate, so the tongue perhaps feels like it's floating a little bit more in your mouth, the eyes sink a little bit further back into the face, maybe we're resting our gaze for a moment in and down towards the lungs, continuing to imagine this long tail grounding us to the earth, soft belly, soft back, helping us feel more at ease in this moment, stay together and practice for another minute in silence. If you're on your back perhaps we start to wiggle your fingers and your tail and get ready to turn over onto your sides, leaving behind whatever stressors or tension you were able to leave behind, bringing yourself up if you're on your back into an upright seat with support, so you again continue to feel soft in your belly and back, long and tall through your torso, as we perhaps finish this phase of our practice with the hands in front of the heart center, soft eyes, lower jaw releasing from upper palate, maybe this one last time allowing your tongue to stretch out of the face in that lizard-like way, to be aware of relaxing the throat and jaw, and then others may others continue to benefit from our practice, namaste, and thank you so much for being with me today for our lizard practice, I hope your body, mind, and spirit feel rejuvenated, have a great week.


Michelle F
4 people like this.
Melina - the sweet synchronicity of this series is so precious.... as the sun increases in ferocity , I delight in trying to spot tiny lizards darting around - I have a wee visitor to my balcony who nibbles my pot of mint.
 I have been reading recently about eye movement and trauma treatment and remembering one of my first teachers, Peetambar Mishra, used to end class with tracking  the outstretched thumb with the eyes -so it just seemed so RIGHT that the practice started in this way! 
Thank you so much Melina, it is a joy to explore with you!
Jenny S
3 people like this.
So creative and fun! These classes are like pieces of art. I love how you weave the theme into the entire practice. By the end I was really imagining myself as a lizard 🦎❤️ Now on my wish list: an entire season of Melina Meza animal-themed practices 😉🙏🏻
Melina Meza
What great reviews and stories! Michelle, thanks for reminding me of the value of eye exercises and for sharing describing your balcony for us. Jenny, as always, I love your dedication to practice and this community. I think my next season should be ALL animals. Noted. A few more to come in this season....I hope you enjoy the what's on the horizon.
Sandra Židan
Beautiful practice! Thanks, Melina! Kind regards!
Brenda S
Melinda, thanks for this short incredible hip opening lesson.
Melina Meza
You are so very welcome!

Diane C
1 person likes this.
Wonderful poses and visualizations to encourage relaxation into the poses. 
Kit & Dee Dee
Great way to start the day. Thank you so much!
Melina Meza
Thanks for watching the show!
David G-
1 person likes this.
Lots of fun being the lizzard “persona”; I relaxed more comfortably because I was smiling, relieving athletic work stiffness. You even mention road riding in the session. I felt the warmth you suggested as well. Thanks

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