Bhekasana Frog Pose
Bheka in Sanskrit is a frog. The word ‘Bheka’ would mean a frog. This asana when done resembles a frog and hence the name ‘Bhekasana’. It is also called ‘Mandukasana’ which has different variations. There are few poses that are as effective as Frog Pose in stretching the front of the body in a deep backbend. Ensure that your body is warm and that you activate your core muscles to protect the back. The anatomical focus here is the uterus.
Practice of Bhekasana Frog Pose
- Start with Bakasana, Easy Pose by sitting in a comfortable, cross-legged position. Bring your hands behind you, and staying on the fingertips, lift the chest and widen the collarbones. This work begins to expand the chest muscles (pectoral major and pectoral minor) and lengthen the neck.
- Lie on your belly and move into a modified Setu Bhandasana (Bridge Pose) by keeping the feet in a flat, hips-width distance apart. Inhale, lift the hips off the floor and extend the hands overhead until the back of the hands are on the floor. Press firmly into the feet while you slide the shoulder blades down towards the waist. Extend the tailbone away from the hips. Remain for five to eight breaths. Lower the hips down to rest. Repeat two to three times. Rest.
- Lie on your right side with your right arm straight and underneath you and your legs stacked straight. Bend your right elbow and place your head into your hand. Bend the left knee and grasp the left ankle with your left hand. Draw the bent knee towards the straight right knee. You are stretching the large muscles on the front of the thigh (quadriceps). Remain for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
- Come up to your hands and knees and step the right foot forward so the right knee is directly over the right ankle. Bending your left knee, lift the left foot and see if you can hold the foot with your left hand. Place your right hand on the right thigh to balance. If this is too intense, keep your back foot flat on the mat and simply place both hands on the right thigh to stretch the inner groin and right hip. Repeat to the second side. This is a variation of Eka Pada Rajakapotanasana.
- Lie back on the belly to move into the full pose of Bhekasana, Frog Pose. Bend both elbows and extend your arms in front of you so that you are in Sphinx Pose: palms flat, shoulders-width distance and your shoulders directly over the elbows. The legs are both extended straight back behind you. Bend the right knee and see if you can use your right hand to hold it and spin your hand over the foot so your right palm is holding the top of the right foot. Bending the right knee, draw the heel towards the right leg. Release. Repeat to the second side. Release.
- Repeat this action this time bending both legs and holding each foot with each hand. If the knee joints, the lower back or shoulders bother you at all, simply rest lying flat, forehead on the mat. If you cannot hold each foot, repeat the above step, working with one foot at a time. Bhekasana is a Second Series Ashtanga Pose and meant to be challenging.
Benefits of Bhekasana Frog Pose
- Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groin, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Improves posture
- Stimulates the organs of the abdomen
- As the body is pressed against the floor the abdominal organs are benefited. This asana is actually a blessing to the heels and the knees.
- This asana also relieves pain in the knee joints due to Rheumatism and gout.
- The pressure on the feet with the hands creates an arc and cures flat feet.
- This pose relieves pain in the heels and also the knees if there are any derangement in the knee joints. It also cures calcaneal spurs in the heels and continuous practice of the pose brings softness to the heels.
Cautions for Bhekasana Frog Pose
- At no point should you force the shoulder or knee joint to move yourself into a yoga pose. Work slowly and at the first sign of discomfort in any joint, the neck or low back exit the pose and simply rest.