Frog Pose - A Breakdown Of Mandukasana
As far as hip openers go, Frog Pose is among the more challenging poses out there. Focusing on the hips and groin muscles, this deep hip opening posture is as much about concentrating on your breathing as it is about working that area of the body. You'll find that Frog Pose can get pretty extreme, and this is why you will need to increase the awareness of your breathing when you practice this posture.
Due to this intense nature of the pose, beginners will want to try other hip openers first, and then work their way up to Frog Pose. Frog Pose is more suitable for intermediate to advanced skill levels to practice. But with plenty of preparation beforehand, like practicing less intense postures such as Child's Pose, you will find your flexibility opening up for Frog Pose in no time.
The Benefits Of Frog Pose
There’s more to Frog Pose than just opening the hips. While the pose puts a major emphasis on the muscles of the inner thighs, stretching this part of the body will also engage your core. So anyone who spends a lot of time in a seated position at work or home will find Frog Pose rather advantageous for reducing the muscle tension and tightness that can occur as a result.
All that time sitting can do a real number on your back and your hips. But when you practice Frog Pose with any level of regularity, the tightness can be reversed and increase your mobility and flexibility. Frog Pose can also improve your overall posture while promoting circulation at the same time.
How To Do Frog Pose
Regardless of your skill level, take care when getting into this position. Be sure you are fully warmed up first by doing lunges and sun salutations to help open the hips and get the body ready for deep stretching. You may even want to start in Child's Pose first to get your knees ready for the stretches you're about to perform.
- Start on all fours along the edge of your mat.
- Bring the knees out wide, past your hips. Your feet should be flexed so that the toes are facing out and your heels positioned behind your knees. If this is uncomfortable, bring the knees back closer to one another or place a blanket or towel under your knees.
- Place your hands forward where you feel most comfortable with the forearms on the ground or placed on top of a block.
- Point the top of your head forward.
- Draw your tailbone backward.
- Maintain the position of the knees so they are placed under your hips.
- Bring your belly up from the floor.
- Hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable - whether that's thirty seconds or two minutes is up to you. Just make sure you're not forcing yourself to hold the pose for longer than you should. Listen to your body, and if something hurts stop.
Some Adjustments To Frog Pose
Even skilled veterans may find Frog Pose a little too challenging at first. Always take it easy when you're working with this pose by starting slow and making any adjustments necessary to ease discomfort and avoid potential injury. Here are some things to remember as you start:
- Find your comfort zone and stick with it. If that means shuffling around to get your hips to open a little further or to cat/cow your back to make the pose more comfortable, then feel free to do that.
- Use accessories when necessary. A bolster under the chest to support your upper body or a blanket or towel under the knees to support your legs will do wonders for your ability to perform and hold Frog Pose.
Variations On Frog Pose
Try these variants to get even more benefit from Frog Pose.
While resting on your stomach, hold only one of your legs straight instead of two and draw the other one in line with the hips. Hold the position for your desired length and then repeat the variation on the opposite leg.
Frog At The Wall Variation
Lie down and place your hips against a wall with your legs positioned up. Spread them apart while bending the knees and placing both feet on the wall. Slide a block under each foot so you can deepen the pose. If you feel your pelvis coming up, bring your hips away from the wall just a little.
Advanced Frog Pose
After you are able to perform Frog Pose free of discomfort or difficulty, you can make some adjustments to your body position to create more of a challenge for yourself. Concentrate on the knees by putting more space in between them, and do the same thing with the feet to bring more intensity to the pose. You might also lower your torso and hips down closer to the floor.
Some Warnings To Consider
When you're practicing Frog Pose, watch out for any tingling sensation you might feel in your arms as you have them extended out. If you do, try some adjustments to ease that discomfort. Lie your forehead onto your hands or choose to extend just one arm out instead of both. But if you really must extend both at the same time, bend your elbows to alleviate the pressure.
Pregnant women who are past the first trimester should not do Frog Pose. That's not to suggest hip opener poses must be avoided entirely, but choose something less intense. Anyone with injuries or physical limitations in the knees, ankles, lower back, groin, or hip areas should also avoid this pose. These issues can be exacerbated during Frog Pose. You don't want to make these injuries worse when the whole point of yoga is to make your mind and body feel better.
Much like any yoga pose, refrain from forcing yourself into it. Some postures are easier than others, of course, but for more advanced poses such as this, it's best to take it slow and steady. Don't overdo it and don't push yourself to execute any pose you're not yet physically prepared to do, especially this one.
Be sure to visit the Yoga Society blog to learn more yoga poses, styles, and tips to try!