Frog Pose, Bhekasana

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Frog Pose, Bhekasana, (bhek-AHS-anna)

Bheka (pose) + asana (pose)

Pose Type: Stretching

Difficulty: Advanced

a man wearing black yoga clothes doing frog pose

Explore your limits and challenge your flexibility in a new way with this frog-shaped pose.

Bhekasana Fundamentals

Bhekasana is a reclined asana which translates to frog pose, as the body resembles the shape of a frog.

Mandukasana is another pose named after this animal, but that’s the only connection between the two postures.

We can’t find Bhekasana in ancient or medieval yoga texts, so we can assume it was transferred directly from teacher to student. The first written records were in the 20th century when it was described in books by Patthabi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Swami Vishnudevanda

This asana is advanced, as it requires a lot of flexibility, especially in the middle back. 

As such a challenging pose, it can help you explore your boundaries, not only physical but also mental limits or boundaries in your everyday life. In a way, it teaches how to approach and accept them.

In Native American culture, the frog often represents cleansing and rebirth. You can see your practice in that way, using the challenge to clean yourself of anything that no longer serves you. 

It can teach us compassion towards ourselves, which will then naturally be extended to others. It gives us a feeling of humbleness, but also being supported by the earth

It also gives an opportunity to face our fears – all challenging asanas take some courage. We learn to stay calm and keep breathing while doing something that may make us uncomfortable. 

Physically, Bhekasana can be confusing as it develops our flexibility, but we also need flexibility to enter it. Approaching it with care and patience can help us slowly gain enough flexibility to access the full version. 

On the energetic level, Bhekasana works on our Sacral and Solar Plexus chakras. These centers activate our creativity, sense of pleasure, self-esteem, and inner power. 

Bhekasana Benefits

  • Boosts the function of the adrenal glands which can energize us and increase our inner fire
  • Boosts the function of the pancreas, which helps with the secretion of insulin.
  • It also improves the functioning of the reproductive system and the related hormones.
  • Abdominal massage stimulates the digestive system.
  • Stretches the entire leg, including the quadriceps, ankles, calves, and hamstrings. 
  • Opens the chest, which can improve breathing and posture.
  • Strengthens the chest, arms, and shoulders.
  • Stretches the lower and middle back.
  • As a challenging pose, it makes us more aware of our body and breath, which can teach us to be more mindful both on and off the mat. 

How To Do Bhekasana: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

  1. Begin laying on your stomach on your mat. Bend your knees so the feet move towards the torso, and let the calves slightly hang to the sides to encourage internal rotation of the hips (so the feet are on your sides and not directly on top of the butt)
  2. Draw your belly in and press your hips into the ground. Lift the thighs slightly away from the ground.
  3. Reach your right arm back, hold your foot so that it is between your thumb and index finger, and press on the foot. Flip the grip to push your feet down.
  4. Now repeat the same with the left arm. 
  5. Don’t force your foot down, your hands are only acting as resistance. 
  6. Lift your quads higher and push your hips firmer into the ground.
  7. Lift the chest forward and up.
  8. Hold for a couple of deep breaths or as long as comfortable
an annotated image of a man wearing black yoga clothes doing frog pose

Tips And Tricks:

  • The main thing that can bring up fear in Bhekasana is the knees, as it requires deep flexion. To overcome that, keep the knees in line with your body, and if you feel any weird sensation or pain, release your grip a bit.
  • The main stretch should be at the middle of the thigh and not the knees.
  • This is a challenging pose that will feel different every time you get into it. Enter it safely, and listen to your body, approach it with new patience and humbleness regardless of your previous attempts.
  • Don’t slump into the shoulders, and relax the base of the neck. 
  • It’s crucial to warm up. Perform a dynamic sequence like sun salutations before the pose, and also other backbends and thigh stretches. 

Bhekasana Variations:

Bhekasana Variation: Half Frog Pose

a man in black trousers doing half frog pose

If you have flexibility but struggle to enter the full pose, the best thing to do is to only repeat steps one to three – hold one leg, and keep the other extended on the ground.

 Stretch the arm on the same side as the extended leg to the front. Lift that shoulder and chest up and hold for around 5 breaths.

 Then release, take a breather in Crocodile Pose, and try on the other side. 

Bhekasana Variation: Bow Pose

  • bow pose
  • bow pose variation

Bow Pose is very similar to Bhekasana and can be both a great preparatory pose and an alternative for it.

You will also begin lying on the belly and bend your knees. Then you’ll grab hold of the knees, but rather than pushing the feet down you will lift them towards the sky. 

Activate your thighs by pushing them towards each other to keep the knees in line. Lift your chest.

Read our full Bow Pose guide here. 

Bhekasana Variation: Crescent Moon Variation

If you are prepping for Bhekasana, doing the Bow pose and then this variation, will help you work on the two actions of the pose separately. 

That’ll make you used to the sensations, and help you to gradually increase your flexibility.

Begin in Crescent Moon, also known as a low lunge. The left knee is stepping forward, and the back knee is on the floor.

Keep your left hand on the left thigh, and bend the right knee so that the foot points to the sky. Grab your right foot with your right hand and bring it close to the outside of the hips.

If it is difficult to do so, bend slightly forward, push your butt out, then bring it back to the foot. With the hip and heel together, align your hips so that they are in the same line. 

Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.

This variation gives you a deep stretch of the quadriceps necessary for Bhekasana, and the back leg is in the same shape as it is in Bhekasana so it’s a wonderful prep for it. 

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Ankle pressure – Don’t push the ankles down too hard, as that could lead to injury. Instead, only use your hands as resistance, without forcing it. 

Hip and shoulder pressure – You will need to flex the hips and shoulders to hold the pose, so make sure the pressure is not too much for you.  Be patient and take it slow. 

Contraindications and Injuries

It’s best to avoid this asana if you have any issues related to the stomach as it places strong pressure on this area. For the same reason, refrain from Bhekasana while pregnant. Finally, avoid the pose or talk to an expert if you have any injury in the lower back or the knees. 

Related Poses

Bow Pose

Cobra Pose

Frog Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Sphinx Pose

Thunderbolt Pose

Locust Pose

Counter Poses:

Crocodile Pose

Child’s Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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