Frog Pose, Mandukasana, (man-doo-KAHS-uh-nuh)
manduka (frog) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Frog Pose
Use the resistance of the ground to stretch deep in this intense hip opener.
Frog Pose Fundamentals
Frog Pose is a love-and-hate thing – some yogis are thrilled to have it in their everyday practice, and others avoid it at all costs.
Whether you like it or not – you’ll get the benefits of this asana. The main one is deep hip opening, which is difficult to achieve in most other yoga poses.
The reason for that is that gravity and the ground are helping you get deeper into the pose. You can slide down into the stretch, and the floor is sort of acting as your stretching partner, helping you to get deep into the pose.
This is a good thing, but it can also be bad – if you go beyond your limits.
Remain conscious of your alignment. Don’t think about how the pose looks, rather focus on how it feels.Frog Pose is a very intense stretch and you should perform it with warm muscles. Make sure you do your sun salutations, and other hip openers before going into this one.
The pose was first mentioned in the renowned 17th-century text Gheranda Samitha, where it was chosen for the list of 32 selected “useful asanas”.
Through strengthening the pelvic floor and increasing the flexibility in the inner thighs, this pose is also said to improve your sex life. It also does that by stimulating the Sacral chakra, the center of pleasure and sexual energy.
Finally, this pose can be a safe way to work through any unprocessed emotions, which we often store in our hips. It’s normal for you to feel the urge to cry or make a sound to express your emotions in this pose, especially if you practice it with full awareness and hold it for a bit longer.
Frog Pose Benefits
- Opens and lengthens the hips, which can help increase your ability to sit cross-legged in meditation, give you more freedom of motion, and also counteract the effect of long sitting.
- Releases back pain, especially lower back pain. It reduces tension in this area and can feel very soothing after a long day at work.
- Relaxes the pelvic floor, which can help you enjoy more pleasure in sex, and also helps if you have trouble with emptying the bladder.
- May help you release stored emotions in the hips, and make you feel calmer and grounded.
How To Do Frog Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Start on your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose. The hands should be directly under the shoulders, and the knees should be under the hips.
- When you’re ready, begin to slowly open your knees out to the sides. Whenever you feel the stretch, stop and hold – don’t go into the deepest expression right away.
- Slowly continue opening your hips. When you find your edge, turn the feet to the sides and flex them, so that the inner feet, ankles, and knees are on the floor.
- Lower to the forearms or if that’s too deep, remain on the palms or place the palms on two blocks.
- When you find the ideal position, try to hold it still for 5 to 10 breaths, or even longer if you want.
- Release the pose slowly and with caution, coming up to Table Top, or going back to Child’s Pose.
Tips And Tricks:
- Move slowly – stop as soon as you feel a stretching sensation. Remain there for a bit. If you can breathe and stay in this pose without pain, then try widening your knees a bit more. Your flexibility will benefit much more in this way than if you force the deepest stretch right away.
- You can also adjust the intensity of the stretch by moving your hands close or away from the body – the further they are, the deeper the stretch. Also, remain up on the palms, or go on the elbows for a deeper stretch.
- This pose stimulates digestion, so it is not a good idea to perform it just after a meal. Perform it before a meal instead, to stimulate digestion.
- This pose is much safer on a mat or other surface that has plenty of traction. Although the ground will help you get deeper into the stretch, if the mat and your clothes are slippery, you could slide down too deep.
- Engage your ab muscles so you can allow the hip flexors to relax and sink toward the ground.
Frog Pose Variation:
Frog Pose Variation: Blankets Under Knees
This variation is especially important for people with sensitive knees – but honestly, we think it is a better variation for everyone.
Even if your knees are healthy, you will probably feel discomfort in this pose if done on a hard surface, as they are firmly pushing into the ground.
So, for this one, just tuck two cushions, folded blankets, or even bolsters under the knees to ease discomfort. If you don’t have any props nearby, you can also fold the sides of your mat, so the knees sit on two layers of the mat material.
For sensitive knees, you can also place a yoga block under your stomach to take some pressure off the knees.
Frog Pose Variation: Stay Up Or Wide Legged Child’s Pose
The best beginner variation for Frog Pose is to simply go less deep.
Since the ground and gravity take a lot of the work from this pose, we can easily slide much deeper than we should and can. This leads to improper alignment and/or injury and pain.
If you feel discomfort – decrease the distance between the knees and stay up on your arms instead of moving down to the elbows.
Alternatively, if that still doesn’t feel good, you can also perform Wide Legged Child’s Pose.
Frog Pose Variation: Half Frog Pose
This is another fantastic variation of Frog Pose for beginners because you’ll still get a deep stretch in the hips but in a more passive and restorative way.
In Half Frog Pose, you’ll lie on your stomach, then bring one knee up bending the leg, so the thigh is parallel with the short edge of the mat. The toes should still point out and be flexed. You can put a bolster below your stomach and chest to ease the pose and make it more yin-like.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Not breathing…deep enough. Deepening the belly breath is one of the main benefits of Frog Pose – if done properly. If you go too deep, you might hold your breath. Instead, go less deep and focus on your breathing.
Forcing the stretch. Comparison is the thief of joy – and in yoga, it is also the thief of progress. Forcing the stretch will do absolutely nothing good for you – if you spread the knees too much apart, you’ll either a)practice with bad form or b) injure yourself. Stick to your limits and you’ll progress much faster.
Overarching the lower back. There are two actions in this pose, and students tend to focus only on one. Yes, you should release the hips towards the floor, but you should also engage the core muscles. If you do that, the back won’t dip, and your spine will stay neutral.
Injuries and Conditions
Frog Pose is not recommended for those with injuries in the hips, knees, and groin. It also isn’t recommended for pregnant women as the abdomen will press into the ground. If you have problems in the ankles or the lower back, adjust the pose so it is not invigorating the issue. If nothing works, refrain from the pose.
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