Frog Pose: The Ultimate Hip Opener Pose

Oh man, can you say HIP OPENER?  In today’s Post, we will explore the biggest darn hip opener on the planet.  Ok –maybe not on the planet, but it is one heck of a doozy and it is guaranteed to get you feeling something–if you’re looking for a deep inner thigh and hip stretch Frog Pose, or Mandukasana is for you.

First of all, this frog pose that we will be talking about today is completely different than the frog pose, Bekasana, in Ashtanga yoga.  Mandukasana is a mega intense posture that stretches not just the inner thighs, but also it gets into the ankles and even low back.

This is quite honestly, one of my least favorite pose.  Some people say that we hold emotions in our hips–well, if this is true, my emotion is anger because this pose elicits a LOT of anger when I’m in it for more than…say 60 seconds.  Now, when researching this post, I didn’t see any medical documentation confirming or denying this phenomena on the first 3 pages of google, but I did see a lot of references to such in various yoga websites.  

This means I’m reticent to say there is actual concrete proof to this affirmation heard in basically any yin class that has held frog pose for any amount of time, but from purely speculative, or personal perspective, The Hips Don’t Lie and man alive, my hips do NOT like frog pose!

In this video, I break down Frog Pose, Mandukasana for you.

Oftentimes, I see women (because I can honestly say I have never seen a man lay flat on the mat in frog pose.) that will think they are into the pose super deep, laying almost completely flat on the mat with their thighs and chest, when in reality, they aren’t truly stretching in the “right” place.

“Right” place is quoted because –really—what is Right anyways? But i digress.

So yes, I have women that are like, this pose isn’t hard at all!  Then, I go walk over to them and ask them to shimmy their hips back in line with their knees and make sure the knees are over the ankles…and BAM, just like that, there’s an “OH….”  sometimes it’s a more subtle, “oh” and sometimes it’s a dramatic “OOOOOHHHH” (sometimes it’s a cuss word, not gonna lie.)

Frog is super easy to “cheat” so that’s why I wanted to do this video.

Things to Keep in Mind when Practicing Frog Pose:

  • It’s best to practice it against the wall so your feet can press into it
  • Turn your feet out, press them into the wall flat (or as flat as possible)
  • With your belly facing the floor, open your knees as wide as they can and try to lay forward. (A bolster is a lovely prop for this pose.)
  • Your ankles should shimmy themselves inline with the knees–either in or out.  
  • Now, here’s the awesome sauce…push your hips back in line with your knees.  

(I just heard a “sweet baby Jesus” proclamation.)

Now,if you’re one of those folks that is lucky enough to have your chest on the floor, you can rest your forehead on a block or on your hands that are stacked in front of the chest.  If you are like me, you will love a bolster and you just rest your head there, switching sides as necessary and praying that the pose ends soon.

Benefits of Frog Pose:

  • Opens the Hips
  • Makes space for the lower back
  • Can help improve your posture
  • As in most things yoga, it stimulates digestion
  • Opens your chest if you can open your arms out wide

Be Careful of Frog Pose

  • If you have bad knees or injuries
  • If you have back injuries in general–just go very slow and be sure your body has moved around enough to attempt this move.  If i tried this at 6 in the morning I don’t think I’d be able to walk the rest of the day.
  • If you have injuries to your ankles, move gingerly as you open the feet out to the side.
  • This can also be intense for people with bunions or other foot issues where the arch side doesn’t like pressure.

Here’s the thing, after you get over the initial shock and terror that is a good long hold in frog pose, you’ll notice something.  You’ll notice you feel like you can move a little easier. You’ll feel like you may want to do a few Shakira moves with your hips because they are so open….some people may even feel a little lighter if they are able to release any emotional tension that is held there in the hips.  

Although I forever joke about disliking Frog Pose, I know how incredibly important it is, so i try to throw it into my practice at least monthly.  Not gonna lie, it isn’t easy….usually, it is due to a request from a client OR, because something is going on in my low back and I need to open up there.  It is an intense posture, but it is also incredibly good for you, so you should definitely try it.

Watch the video on youtube and let me know what you think.  What other hip openers do you love or hate? Do you have any super funny frog pose stories?  

Really quick–once, I cued frog after a particularly challenging power yoga class….I made a joke about how this pose made me want to punch people (because it does, which i KNOW is not yogi).  Afterward, I had a client, who looked rather flushed–and not from the heated yoga part, tell me she never knew why she got so angry in that pose! She had originally planned to stay for the next Yin class, but she needed to leave to calm down she was so upset!  It’s crazy what postures and your body can do!

If you loved that tutorial, and you’re looking for a workout inspired by yoga, come check out the Thrive Online Community!  I have a super awesome free 30 minute Cardio Inspired, HIT Yoga (high intensity training yoga) class that I would love to share with you!  If you love it, be sure to sign up to be a friend, and I will send you another 30 minute video!    Let me know what you think and love and I will make some more! Can’t wait to see you on the mat soon!

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