What is Frog Pose?
Known as Mandukasana in Sanskrit, the Frog Pose is an intermediate to advanced yoga asana that opens up the hips, inner thighs and groin region. It improves flexibility and mobility, preparing the body for challenging hip-openers and splits. Given its impact on improving blood circulation, the frog pose works as a good warm-up for advanced poses, along with lunges. It takes time to ease into the frog position and should thus be practiced carefully with awareness. Frog pose is also a popular yin yoga posture where the asana is held for a few minutes to induce a deep, slow and mindful practice .
Position type: Sitting
Posture type: Prone
Ideal for: Flexibility and mobility
Targets: Hips, groin, inner thighs, core
Pose level: Intermediate to advanced
How to prepare for frog pose
When practicing frog pose, ensure you do the asana on a yoga mat or with a blanket or cushion below the knees. It will provide the necessary cushioning and padding for the knees, softening the pressure.
For the frog pose, hip flexibility is the main aspect to work on. Ensure you loosen up tight hamstrings and thighs before doing the frog pose. Practice poses such as the downward-facing dog pose, standing forward fold, high lunge, low lunge, gate pose, bound angle pose, garland pose, bow pose and pigeon pose regularly to stretch and improve flexibility in the hip region.
You can also do a few rounds of Surya Namaskar as this will stretch out tight muscles and improve blood circulation greatly. When the body is better warmed-up for the frog pose, you’ll find it easier to access and going deeper into the asana will be possible.
How to do Frog Pose
Getting into the posture
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Ensure your hands are below the shoulders and knees are below the hips.
- Now inhale and slowly take both the knees outwards to the sides while exhaling. Keep breathing as you stretch the legs to the sides. As you deepen the stretch, you’ll feel a deep stretching sensation in the inner thighs and groin. Be aware of this and do not force the stretch.
- Lower the forearms with the palms flat on the floor or pressed together.
- Stay here and take a few deep breaths.
Getting out of the posture
- To release the pose, slowly slide your knees together and come back to the tabletop position. You can also slide the feet together and come into a side-legged child’s pose.
Key Alignments in Frog Pose
Be careful not to force the knees apart too much in the beginning if trying to get closer to the ground. Gently lower your body only as far as you feel comfortable. The benefits can be felt from the stretch, no matter how close to the ground you are. Additionally, keep your core strong and lower back flat.
What are the benefits of Frog Pose?
The Frog pose is an intense hip and groin opener that stretches the muscles in the inner thighs (adductors), hips and core. Stretching the groin and inner thighs also strengthens the core and lower back. For runners, cyclists and other sportspeople the frog pose encourages movement and mobility in the hip and groin area, providing a counter movement and releasing tightness. Thus, the posture counteracts muscle tightness. This applies even to those sitting at a desk for long hours. The improved mobility and flexibility improves hip health and releases trapped emotions. Practitioners also experience relief from back pain and tightness in the lower back.
What are the contraindications of Frog Pose?
Avoid doing the frog pose if you have knee, groin or hip injuries. In case of any discomfort, immediately pause and relax. In the event of discomfort or issues with your ankles or lower, be aware of sensations in the hip region or groin area. Pregnant women should avoid doing the asana. Ease into the asana and avoid any force.
Variations of the Frog pose
- If being on the forearms is too intense, you can stay on the palms or bring the forearms onto blocks.
- Place additional blankets under the knees in case of sensitive knees. You can also try moving more weight onto the arms to reduce pressure on the knees.
- You can keep a yoga block or bolster under the abdomen to put more pressure on that instead of the knees or arms too.
- Decrease the distance between the knees and don’t lower the torso too much towards the ground if the hips and thighs are too tight. You can also bring your feet closer together to decrease the intensity of the stretch.
If you have strong flexibility and mobility and can do the posture without pain or discomfort, try widening the distance between your knees and letting your torso and hips come closer to the floor. You can also try sliding your feet further apart to see if that intensifies or changes the stretch for you. Practice this only under the guidance of a teacher.
Advice for beginners
Remember to keep breathing through the posture, whether you are just starting out or have had some practice. As you deepen the stretch, breathing into the abdomen is very important to keep the body relaxed and to sink lower towards the floor. Do not try to hold your breath, but keep taking continuous slow and relaxed breaths.
- A rejuvenating asana, frog pose should be practiced with complete awareness and presence of mind. It can be tricky and challenging initially so do not take it for granted.
- Ease into the frog pose gently. Start with a simpler version and gradually go deeper into the pose. Do not be in a hurry to go deep.
- Practice under the guidance of a teacher, especially if you are trying to hold the asana for longer or go deeper towards the floor.
Learn how to practice Mandukasana the right way, with modification and props, from an experienced teacher LIVE on Shvasa.