Mandukasana (Frog pose): Steps, Benefits and Contraindications

Mandukasana or Frog Pose – Sharp Muscle
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Mandukasana, also known as Frog Pose, requires some effort to get into, but it can be especially beneficial if you want to open up your hips while practicing slow and mindful breathing.

This pose is particularly useful for athletes or people who engage in activities that involve repetitive motions, such as running or cycling; as it can help to promote flexibility and mobility in the hip region, which can often become stiff and tight due to the repetitive nature of these movements.

Information

Known as:Mandukasana, Frog pose, Bhekasana, Menthiasana
Sanskrit name:मंडुकासन
IAST:Mandukāsana
Pronunciation:mun-doo-kah-suh-nuh
Level:Beginner
Type:Forward-Bend
Focus:Hip and groin area, lower back, spinal
Total time:30 to 60 seconds
Drishti:Tip of the nose (Nasagra Drishti)
Chakra:Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus) , Swadisthana (Sacral) Chakra , Muladhara (Root) Chakra
Indications:Respiratory problems, digestive system, hip and groin muscles, back pain, blood circulation, spinal health
Counterposes:Balasana (Child’s pose), Uttanasana (Standing forward bend), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose), Marjariasana (Cat-Cow pose)
Preparatory poses:Child’s pose (Balasana), Bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana), Low lunge (Anjaneyasana), Cat-Cow stretch (Marjariasana-Bitilasana), Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
Follow-up poses:Child’s pose (Balasana), Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Garland pose (Malasana), Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana), Corpse pose (Savasana)
Contraindications:Recent abdominal surgery, Knee, Ankle, or Hip injuries, High blood pressure, Pregnancy

Meaning

The word ‘Mandukasana’ is derived from two Sanskrit words — Manduka + Asana:

  1. Manduka” = “frog”
  2. Asana” = “pose or posture”

Hence, the term ‘Mandukasana’ translates to the Frog pose or posture in English. The name of this yoga pose is based on the resemblance of the practitioner’s body to that of a frog while performing the posture.

The word ‘Manduka’ also has a symbolic significance in some Indian traditions, representing the transformation of the frog from an aquatic creature to a land animal, symbolizing the power of adaptation and evolution.

Mandukasana is a straightforward yoga posture that is easy enough for children to learn in yoga classes. It is a unique position that can help stimulate the abdominal organs. Due to its popularity, most yoga classes, whether online or in-person, include this pose along with other well-known positions such as Surya Namaskar and Yoga Nidra. With proper execution, Mandukasana can quickly yield noticeable results in the belly and other body parts. It is a simple Asana that is accessible to practitioners of all ages.

How Mandukasana can affect the doshas?

In Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine from India, each person has a unique combination of three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are the biological energies that govern physical and mental functions in the body.

Here’s how Mandukasana can affect the doshas:

Vata dosha: Vata dosha is associated with the elements of air and ether and governs movement in the body. Mandukasana can be beneficial for individuals with a dominant Vata dosha as it provides a grounding and calming effect on the body and mind. This pose can also help to release tension in the hips and lower back, which are areas commonly affected by Vata imbalance.

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Pitta dosha: Pitta dosha is associated with the elements of fire and water and governs metabolism and digestion. Practicing Mandukasana can be beneficial for individuals with a dominant Pitta dosha as it can stimulate the digestive system and help to relieve digestive issues such as bloating and constipation. This pose can also help to release tension and reduce stress, which are both factors that can exacerbate Pitta imbalance.

Kapha dosha: Kapha dosha is associated with the elements of earth and water and governs structure and stability in the body. Mandukasana can be beneficial for individuals with a dominant Kapha dosha as it can stimulate circulation and provide a gentle release of tension in the body. This pose can also help to energize the body and mind, which can counteract the heavy and sluggish nature of Kapha imbalance.

Overall, Mandukasana can be beneficial for all dosha types, but may be particularly helpful for individuals with a Vata or Pitta dosha imbalance.

Benefits of Mandukasana (Frog pose)

When we practice Mandukasana, our body takes on a posture that resembles that of a frog, which is how this pose got its name. There are various variations of the Frog Pose, and Mandukasana is one of them. This pose is considered to be specifically beneficial for the digestive system, as well as for balancing the flow of energy within the body. Practicing Mandukasana can help to promote a sense of lightness and stability throughout the entire body.

However, the physical and mental benefits of Frog pose are listed below:

  1. Physical benefits:
    • Stretches the hip and groin muscles
    • Strengthen the hips, back, knees and ankles
    • Tones the belly, thighs, and hips
    • Improves flexibility
    • Relieves lower back pain
    • Stimulates the digestive system, hence beneficial for indigestion and constipation
    • Enhances blood circulation
    • Massages and enable smooth functions of the abdominal organs
    • Make belly flat
    • Release gas from stomach and intestine
    • Helps deal with diabetes by stimulating pancreas
    • Remedy for navel displacement
    • Potentially improve sexual health by stimulating the sexual organs and enhancing sexual performance
    • Help to increase lung capacity and improve respiratory function
    • Provide some relief to individuals who suffer from asthma
    • Natural remedies for relieving menstrual cramps
  2. Mental benefits:

Mandukasana (Frog pose) Practice Guides

Mandukasana is a beneficial yoga posture that can provide a boost of energy to the body, making it an excellent addition to any flow yoga practice. This intermediate to advanced level asana focuses on opening the hips and groin muscles, enhancing circulation, and improving posture.

After warming up with sun salutations and lunges, adding frog pose to your yoga routine can deepen your hip stretch and provide additional benefits to your body.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Method-1

  1. Begin by sitting comfortably in Vajrasana, also known as the thunderbolt pose. To do this, kneel on the floor with your feet together and your buttocks resting on your heels. Keep your spine straight and your hands on your knees.
  2. Next, close the fists of both hands.
  3. While clenching the fists, press your thumbs inside with your fingers.
  4. While pressing your navel with your both fists, exhale and slowly bend forward. Keep your head, neck, and spine in a straight line. Try to go as far as you comfortably can, without straining yourself.
  5. Hold your breath when you are in the position of bending forward, and keep looking straight ahead.
  6. Stay in this position for some time, hold the position for as long as you can, and then slowly inhale and come back to the starting position of Vajrasana.
  7. Repeat this process three to four times, gradually increasing the duration of the hold with practice.
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Anatomy Engaging Tips

Follow these tips and techniques so you can effectively engage the anatomy while performing the asana and get the most out of the exercise.

  1. Vajrasana Pose: Sit in Vajrasana pose, which is also known as Thunderbolt pose, by kneeling on the ground and placing your buttocks on your heels. Keep your spine straight and place your hands on your thighs.
  2. Hand Placement: Place your right palm on your left palm, and rest your hands on your navel. This will help to activate the abdominal muscles and engage the core.
  3. Stomach Contraction: As you exhale, contract your stomach muscles inwards towards your spine. This will help to strengthen the abdominal muscles and create a stable base for the forward bend.
  4. Forward Bend: Slowly bend forward from your hips while keeping your back straight, and keep your gaze straight ahead. This will help to stretch the muscles in your lower back and hamstrings, while also engaging the core.
  5. Breath Retention: Hold your breath and maintain the position for a few seconds. This will help to build strength and endurance in the muscles of the back and core.
  6. Inhale and Return: Slowly inhale as you lift your torso back to an upright position, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. This will help to stretch the muscles in your back and neck while also engaging the core.
  7. Repetition: Repeat the sequence 3 to 4 times, focusing on the engagement of the core and the breath retention during the forward bend.

Method-2

  1. Start by sitting in Vajrasana pose, which involves kneeling down on the floor with your legs folded underneath you, and your buttocks resting on your heels. Place your hands on your thighs, with your palms facing downwards.
  2. Place your right palm on top of your left palm, and then place both of your hands on your navel. Your fingers should be pointing towards your pubic bone.
  3. Now, inhale deeply and expand your chest. As you exhale, draw your navel inwards towards your spine, using your hands to apply gentle pressure on your abdomen.
  4. Next, exhale completely and bend forward from your waist, keeping your spine straight and your neck in line with your spine. You should feel a stretch in your lower back and hips. Keep your eyes looking straight ahead.
  5. Hold your breath and maintain the position for a few seconds. You can start with holding your breath for 3-5 seconds and gradually increase it over time.
  6. Slowly inhale and come back to the starting position, keeping your hands on your navel.
  7. Repeat this movement 3 to 4 times, coordinating your breath with the movement of your body. As you get more comfortable with the pose, you can try to hold the position for a longer duration and increase the number of repetitions.
Anatomy Engaging Tips

Follow these tips and techniques to help you engage your core muscles, stretch your back muscles, and improve your overall posture and stability.

  1. Vajrasana Pose: Start by sitting in Vajrasana Pose, which is also known as Thunderbolt Pose or Diamond Pose. This is a kneeling posture that helps to stretch the thighs, ankles, and knees, while also improving digestion.
  2. Placing your palms: Once you are comfortable in Vajrasana, place your right palm on your left palm, and rest them on your navel. This hand placement helps to bring your awareness to your core, and also helps to activate your deep abdominal muscles.
  3. Pressing your stomach: As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles and press your stomach inwards towards your spine. This action helps to activate your core muscles and create stability in your torso.
  4. Forward bend: While keeping your palms on your navel, exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, keeping your spine long and your gaze forward. This forward bend helps to stretch your back muscles, while also engaging your core.
  5. Holding your breath: Once you have bent forward, hold your breath and stay in this position for a few seconds. This helps to increase the oxygenation of your body, while also challenging your core stability and balance.
  6. Inhaling and returning to starting position: Slowly inhale and come back to the starting position, keeping your palms on your navel. This slow return helps to activate your deep abdominal muscles, while also stretching your back muscles.
  7. Repeat: Repeat this sequence 3 to 4 times, focusing on engaging your core and maintaining stability throughout the movements.
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Variations and modifications of Mandukasana (Frog pose)

The pose is a simple posture that can be practiced by people of all ages. While there are many variations of Mandukasana in yoga, we will describe six variations of this pose, that you can try to modify the pose or challenge yourself:

  1. Mandukasana with child pose: This variation is a combination of Mandukasana and Balasana (Child’s pose). Start by performing Mandukasana as described earlier, then extend your arms forward and bring your forehead to the mat for Child’s pose. This variation provides a deeper stretch to the hips and spine.
  2. Mandukasana with Wild child pose: This variation is similar to the previous one, but instead of extending your arms forward, you will extend them out to the sides like a “T”. This variation is also known as the “Dead Frog pose” and provides a deeper stretch to the chest and shoulders.
  3. Mandukasana with child pose variation both arms to side: This variation is similar to the previous one, but instead of extending your arms out to the sides, you will bend your elbows and bring your palms together behind your head. This variation provides a deeper stretch to the upper back and shoulders.
  4. Ardha Bhekasana or Half Frog Pose: This variation is similar to the full Bhekasana, but with one leg at a time. Start by lying on your belly and bring your right knee towards your right shoulder. Hold onto your ankle with your right hand and press your foot towards your buttocks. Hold for a few breaths and then switch sides. This variation stretches the quadriceps, hip flexors, and opens up the chest and shoulders.
  5. Bhekasana or Frog Pose II: This variation is also known as the full Frog pose. Start by lying on your belly, bend both knees and bring your heels towards your buttocks. Hold onto your ankles with your hands, press your feet towards your buttocks, and lift your chest off the mat. Hold for a few breaths and release. This variation provides a deep stretch to the hip flexors, quadriceps, and opens up the chest and shoulders.
  6. Adho Mukha Mandukasana or Frog Pose I: This variation is performed in a downward facing dog position. Start by coming into a downward-facing dog, then bring your hands closer to your feet and walk your feet towards your hands. Bend your knees and bring your heels towards your buttocks, keeping your hands and feet hip-distance apart. Hold for a few breaths and release. This variation provides a deep stretch to the hip flexors and quadriceps, and strengthens the arms and shoulders.

Precautions and Contraindications

Precautions and contraindications are important safety measures to consider before practicing any yoga pose. They help to prevent injury and ensure a safe and effective practice.

Here are the precautions and contraindications of frog pose:

  • Forward bending asanas, such as Mandukasana, can compress the spine and exacerbate back pain. Therefore, those with back pain should avoid such poses and instead focus on gentle stretches and postures that help to strengthen the back muscles.
  • Frog pose involves stretching and opening the hips and knees, which can be challenging and potentially harmful for those with knee or hip injuries. As a result, it is essential to avoid this pose or modify it by using props such as blankets or cushions.
  • Pregnant women should avoid practicing Mandukasana as it can cause discomfort and potentially harm the developing fetus. It is recommended that pregnant women consult with their healthcare provider before starting any yoga practice.
  • Those who have had recent surgery on the abdomen, chest, knees, or legs should avoid Mandukasana as it can put pressure on the surgical area and hinder the healing process. It is best to wait until the area has fully healed before practicing any yoga postures.

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