Frog pose, also known as the Mandukasana, is a yoga asana that provides many benefits, including stretching the thighs, groin, and hips.
Yoga is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years, and it offers many physical and mental benefits. One of the yoga asanas that can provide multiple benefits is Mandukasana, also known as the Frog pose. This asana is a seated posture that involves stretching the thighs, groin, and hips while also calming the mind and reducing stress. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of Mandukasana and how to practice it correctly, so you can experience the benefits of this powerful asana.
|Known as:||Frog pose, Mandukasana, Bhekasana, Menthiasana|
|Type:||Seated, hip-opening pose|
|Focus:||Thighs, groin, and hips|
|Total time:||30 – 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||The third eye or the space between the eyebrows|
|Chakra:||Muladhara Chakra, Swadhisthana Chakra|
|Indications:||Hips and groin muscles, digestive system, menstrual discomfort, menstrual cycles, spinal alignment, back pain, stress, anxiety, stability, blood circulation|
|Counterposes:||Child’s pose (Balasana), Butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana), Half Lord of the Fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Downward Facing Dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)|
|Preparatory poses:||Sukhasana (Easy pose), Baddha Konasana (Butterfly pose), Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose), Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide-Angle Forward Fold)|
|Follow-up poses:||Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold), Malasana (Garland pose), Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)|
|Contraindications:||Knee or hip, lower back or spinal injuries, high blood pressure, recent abdominal surgery, pregnancy|
The word ‘Mandukasana’ is derived from two Sanskrit words — Manduka + Asana:
- “Manduka” = “frog”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
In this pose, the body is positioned in a way that resembles a frog, with the knees and hips flexed and the hands resting on the ground in front of the body. The pose is said to be named after the frog because of the way that frogs sit with their legs folded underneath their bodies.
The pose is also sometimes called Bhekasana, which also means “frog pose” in Sanskrit. The name of the pose reflects the physical shape that the body takes during the practice of this yoga pose.
In addition to its literal meaning of “frog pose,” the word “Manduka” also holds symbolic significance in Indian traditions, representing the frog’s transformation from an aquatic creature to a land animal. This transformation symbolizes the power of adaptation and evolution, which can be applied to our lives as well.
The frog is known for its flexibility, adaptability, and ability to jump forward with ease. Similarly, Mandukasana is a pose that promotes flexibility and adaptability in the hips and groin area, and can help you move forward with greater ease and grace.
Historical fun fact
Maṇḍūkāsana, also known as Frog Pose, is a yoga posture that is believed to have been handpicked by the Hindu god Śiva from 84,00,000 living beings and taught as one of the 84 āsanas for physical health and well-being of the human body. The name of the posture comes from the Sanskrit words “maṇḍūka,” meaning frog, and “āsana,” meaning posture.
The Haṭharatnāvalī, a 17th-century Sanskrit reference book, lists the 84 āsanas, including maṇḍūkāsana, as a major constituent of the haṭha-yoga practice. The book is believed to have been written by Śrīnivāsa.
In the Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā, another Sanskrit text, maṇḍukāsana is one of the thirty-two āsanas taught in the second chapter. The text mentions that the soles of the feet are placed under the buttocks, the big toes touching each other, and the knees are kept wide apart. According to this text, Śiva handpicked 84 lacs (8,400,000) āsanas from all species of animals, and out of them, 84 are regarded as important. Among these 84, 32 are considered good enough for mortal beings.
The Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā is one of the three classic texts of Haṭha-yoga, a major branch of Yoga that shares similarities with the Yoga system taught by Patañjali but has its own mythical founder known as Matsyendranātha. The text is an encyclopedic Sanskrit treatise that describes thirty-two such āsanas, including maṇḍukāsana.
How Mandukasana can affect the doshas?
In Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine from India, it is believed that every individual has a unique constitution known as a “dosha”. There are three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – and each dosha is associated with certain physical, mental, and emotional characteristics.
Mandukasana (Frog pose) is considered to be beneficial for all three doshas, but it is particularly helpful for balancing the Kapha dosha. Kapha is associated with the earth and water elements, and is characterized by a calm, nurturing, and grounded energy. However, when Kapha is imbalanced, it can lead to sluggishness, lethargy, and a tendency to hold onto excess weight.
Mandukasana helps to stimulate the digestive system, which can help balance Kapha’s tendency towards sluggishness. The pose also helps to activate the energy of the hips and pelvis, which is associated with the water element and can help balance Kapha’s tendency towards heaviness and stagnation.
Overall, Mandukasana can help promote balance and harmony in the body, mind, and spirit, regardless of your dosha.
Benefits of Frog pose (Mandukasana)
Practicing Mandukasana regularly can help promote a sense of physical and mental well-being, while also improving flexibility, strength, and overall health.
The most prominent benefits of practicing of this yoga pose are listed below:
- Physical benefits:
- Stretches the hips and groin muscles: Mandukasana involves a deep stretch of the hips and groin muscles, which can help increase flexibility and range of motion in these areas.
- Relieves lower back pain: This pose can help relieve tension and pain in the lower back, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle or spend long hours sitting.
- Stimulates the digestive system: The pose can help improve digestion and relieve constipation, as it compresses the abdominal organs and stimulates the digestive fire.
- Strengthens the wrists and arms: The weight-bearing nature of this pose can help strengthen the wrists and arms, which can be beneficial for daily activities that involve these muscles.
- Mental benefits:
- Calms the mind: The deep breathing and focus required in this pose can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Promotes inner stillness: This yoga pose can help cultivate a sense of inner stillness and grounding, as you connect with the earth and release tension from the body.
- Enhances concentration and focus: The focus required to hold this pose can help improve concentration and focus, which can be beneficial for daily activities and mental clarity.
Frog pose (Mandukasana) Practice Guides
Regular practice of this pose can improve hip mobility and strength, which can make daily activities such as sitting and walking upstairs easier and more comfortable. However, it is important to prepare the body properly before practicing this pose, to avoid injury or discomfort.
Mandukasana is a beneficial pose for improving hip mobility and strength. However, it should be practiced with care and attention to the body’s limitations and needs, to avoid injury or discomfort. By incorporating this pose into a regular yoga practice, along with other hip-opening poses and warm-up exercises, you can improve your overall physical well-being and maintain your independence as you age.
To practice Mandukasana, start on all fours in tabletop position, with the shoulders stacked over the wrists and the knees over the hips. Widen the distance between the knees as much as you can without straining, and bring the forearms down to the earth, with the elbows shoulder distance apart. On an inhale, lengthen the spine and engage the core, while simultaneously drawing the hips back and down. Hold the pose for several breaths, then release by lifting the forearms off the earth and placing the palms of the hands on the ground.
To prepare the body for Mandukasana, it is recommended to practice other hip-opening poses first, such as Pigeon Pose, Bound Angle Pose, and Happy Baby Pose. These poses can help to gently open up the hips and stretch the leg muscles, preparing the body for the deeper stretch of Frog Pose. It is also important to warm up the body before practicing Mandukasana, with gentle movements such as Cat-Cow and Sun Salutations.
Here are the step-by-step instructions on this yoga pose:
- Start on all fours in tabletop position, with your hands and knees on the ground. Your shoulders should be stacked directly over your wrists, and your hips should be directly over your knees.
- Widen your knees as much as you comfortably can, without straining. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your inner arches should be touching the ground while your toes point away from your body.
- Exhale as you lower your forearms to the ground. Your elbows should be shoulder-distance apart, with your shoulders directly above your elbows. Your palms should be on the ground, and your fingers should be spread wide.
- Inhale as you lengthen your spine. Imagine reaching the crown of your head forward and your tailbone back in the opposite direction. This will help create more space in your spine and prevent rounding.
- Engage your core by gently drawing your navel in towards your spine. Soften your heart and torso towards the ground, while simultaneously drawing your hips back and down. This will help create more space in your hips and groin area.
- If you start to feel this posture intensely, bring your focus back to your breath. Take slow, deep breaths and try to relax any tension in your body.
- To release this posture, lift your forearms off the ground and place your palms on the ground. Walk your hands back towards your hips as you gently bring the soles of your feet together behind you. Bring your knees together and sit on your feet.
Anatomy engaging tips
Engaging the right muscles during Mandukasana (Frog pose) can help you deepen the pose and avoid injury. Here are some anatomy-engaging tips and techniques:
- Engage your core: Drawing your navel towards your spine and engaging your core will help support your lower back and protect it from injury. This engagement can also help deepen the stretch in your hips and groin area.
- Engage your glutes: Squeezing your glutes will help lengthen your tailbone towards your heels, creating more space in your lower back and hips. It will also help protect your knees and prevent them from collapsing inwards.
- Engage your quads: Firming your quads will help protect your knees and prevent them from hyperextending. It will also help lengthen your inner thighs and deepen the stretch in your hips.
- Engage your shoulders: Pressing down through your forearms and engaging your shoulders will help protect your neck and upper back. It will also help create more stability in your upper body.
To engage these muscles, try visualizing them as you hold the pose. For example, imagine drawing your navel towards your spine and squeezing your glutes to engage your core and lower body. You can also try contracting and releasing these muscles a few times to get a feel for them.
Remember to engage these muscles gently and avoid overworking them. If you feel any pain or discomfort, release the engagement and come out of the pose.
Modifications of frog pose
There are several modifications to Mandukasana (Frog pose) that can help you customize the pose to your body and level of practice. Here are some modifications you can try:
- Use props: Placing a block or blanket under your forearms can help reduce the intensity of the pose and provide more support. You can also place a block or blanket under your knees if you have sensitive knees or want to deepen the stretch.
- Use a wider or narrower stance: Adjusting the distance between your knees can change the intensity of the stretch. A wider stance can provide a deeper stretch in your hips and groin, while a narrower stance can be less intense.
- Use your hands instead of your forearms: If you have wrist pain or discomfort in your forearms, you can come onto your hands instead. This will also provide more stability in your upper body.
- Add movement: You can add movement to the pose by gently swaying your hips side to side or rocking back and forth. This can help release tension and deepen the stretch.
- Use a chair: If you have difficulty coming down onto the ground, you can use a chair for support. Place the chair behind you and come into a seated position with your forearms resting on the chair.
Variations of Mandukasana
There are several variations of Mandukasana (Frog Pose) that can be done to adjust the intensity and experience of the pose. The variations are of this yoga pose explain below:
- Full Frog Pose: To deepen the stretch in your hips and groin, you can try the full version of Frog Pose. From the tabletop position, spread your knees as wide as you can and bring your big toes to touch behind you. Sink your hips back towards your heels, and extend your arms forward, resting your forehead on the ground.
- One Leg Extended Frog Pose: For a variation that focuses on one side of the body, extend one leg straight behind you while keeping the other knee bent at 90 degrees. Place your forearms on the ground, and sink your hips back towards your heel to deepen the stretch.
- Bound Angle Frog Pose: To add a stretch to your inner thighs, try Bound Angle Frog Pose. From the tabletop position, bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. Sink your hips back towards your heels, and extend your arms forward, resting your forehead on the ground.
- Dynamic Frog Pose: For a more active variation, try Dynamic Frog Pose. From the tabletop position, gently rock your hips forward and back, moving your body in a fluid motion. This can help release tension and improve mobility in your hips and groin.
Remember to move slowly and mindfully, and only do what feels comfortable and safe for your body. By exploring different variations of Frog Pose, you can find the one that works best for your body and experience the benefits of the pose in a way that feels supportive and effective.
- Collapsing the Chest: One common mistake is collapsing the chest and shoulders towards the ground, which can cause strain in the neck and upper back. To avoid this, focus on lengthening the spine and reaching the crown of the head forward, while keeping the shoulders broad and relaxed.
- Forcing the Knees Apart: Another mistake is forcefully pushing the knees apart, which can strain the hip joints and lead to discomfort. Instead, focus on allowing the knees to open naturally and move gradually towards a deeper stretch.
- Holding the Breath: It’s important to maintain a steady breath throughout the pose to prevent tension and strain in the body. Avoid holding your breath, and instead try to deepen and slow down your breath, allowing it to support your body and relax your mind.
- Rounding the Back: Rounding the back in this pose can put pressure on the lower back and limit the benefits of the stretch. Instead, focus on keeping the spine long and engaged, drawing the navel in towards the spine to support the core.
Precautions and Contraindications
Precautions and contraindications are important to keep in mind when practicing any yoga posture, including Mandukasana. Precautions are steps that can be taken to prevent injury or discomfort, while contraindications are conditions or situations in which the pose should be avoided altogether. Here are some examples:
- Knee Injuries: People with knee injuries or chronic knee pain should approach this pose with caution. To prevent further strain or injury, it’s important to move slowly and mindfully, avoiding deep knee flexion or pushing too far beyond your comfortable range of motion.
- Hip Injuries: People with hip injuries or limited hip mobility should also approach this pose with caution. If you experience pain or discomfort in the hips or lower back, adjust the pose by bringing the knees closer together or reducing the depth of the stretch.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid practicing Mandukasana, especially in later stages of pregnancy. The deep flexion of the hips and knees can place pressure on the uterus and affect circulation, potentially harming the developing fetus.
- High or Low Blood Pressure: People with low or high blood pressure should avoid holding the pose for long periods of time, as it can affect blood flow and circulation. Instead, focus on moving in and out of the pose gradually, and avoid holding your breath.
- Digestive Issues: People with digestive issues such as hernias, ulcers, or inflammatory bowel disease should avoid practicing Mandukasana, as the pose can place pressure on the abdomen and exacerbate these conditions.
By keeping these precautions and contraindications in mind, you can practice Mandukasana safely and effectively. Always listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or medical conditions.
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