How to Do Frog Pose (Mandukasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

woman on a yoga mat practicing frog pose

 Verywell / Ben Goldstein

In This Article

Also Known As: Mandukasana 

Targets: Hips, inner thighs, groin muscles, core

Equipment Needed: Yoga mat or padding is optional but recommended for placement under the knees

Level: Beginner to intermediate

The frog pose, also known in Sanskrit as Mandukasana, is a beginner to intermediate level yoga pose that can open your hips and groin muscles, increase circulation, and improve your posture. The frog pose is a great move to add to your yoga practice after a warm-up that includes a few rounds of sun salutations and lunges or lunge variations that begin opening your hips and preparing for the deeper stretch of frog pose.

Because it's a posture that takes some time to ease into, it's especially helpful if you're looking for hip-opening benefits while having the opportunity to practice deep, slow, mindful breathing. For athletes or people who run, cycle, or perform quick agility moves, the frog pose will encourage movement and mobility in the hip and groin area that often becomes tight through repetitive motion. 

Benefits

The frog pose in yoga is a hip and groin opener that targets the muscles in your adductors (inner thigh muscles), hips, and core. While stretching your adductors, which are part of your groin muscles, you also get the benefit of strengthening your core.

Done regularly, the frog pose can counteract the chronic muscle tightness that often comes along with spending long hours at a desk or in your car. This is especially important if you deal with any back pain or feel tightness in your lower back and hip region after sitting for an extended period. After practicing this pose regularly, you'll be able to sit cross-legged on the floor more comfortably, which makes playing with kids and pets—or sitting at the beginning and ending of a yoga class—much more fun.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Before you get into position, consider placing a yoga mat or blanket underneath you to help soften the pressure of your knees on the floor. If you have especially sensitive knees, consider placing a yoga blanket on top of your mat for extra padding. Face the long edge of your mat instead of the short edge so that your knees will both be padded once you enter the pose.

  1. Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are underneath your shoulders and knees are below the hips. Stay here and breathe for three to five breaths. 
  2. Focus your gaze on a point between your hands and engage your core by gently drawing your navel back toward your spine. The goal is to activate the core muscles without clenching them. 
  3. Inhale and slowly move your right knee out towards the side as you exhale, stopping to hold and continue breathing whenever you feel the stretch. Depending on your flexibility, this step might bring a powerful stretching sensation to your inner thighs and groin area. Avoid pain and do not force your body into a deeper stretch than it's ready for. 
  4. Continue opening your hips as you turn your feet out towards the side and flex your ankles so that your inner feet, inner ankles, and inner knees are touching the floor. 
  5. Slowly lower down to your forearms with the palms either flat on the floor or pressed together. 
  6. Exhale and press your hips backward until you feel a deep stretch in the hips and inner thighs. Only go as far as you can. You should definitely feel a stretching sensation but it should never be terribly uncomfortable.
  7. Stay here and breathe deeply for a count of five to ten breaths or 30 to 60 seconds. Your breath, as in all yoga poses, is an excellent guide: if you're pushing yourself too far in the stretch, your breathing will become shorter and more forced. If you can take long, slow, deep breaths, it's an indication that the stretch is appropriate for your body.
  8. To release frog pose, slowly slide your knees closer together and return to the tabletop position. Alternatively, some people prefer exiting the pose by sliding their feet together on the mat and pressing their hips back into a wide-kneed variation of child's pose.

Common Mistakes

Forgetting to Breathe

One of the top benefits of the frog pose is deep, belly breathing. This is especially important as you deepen the stretch in your groin area and move into the pose. Resist the urge to hold your breath. If the stretch feels too extreme and you react by breathing less, ease up on the stretch and put your energy back into the breath. 

Forcing Your Knees Apart

If you’re new to this pose or you have limitations in your hips or knees, do not force your knees further apart in an effort to get closer to the ground. Lower your body only as far as you feel comfortable. As long as you're feeling the stretch and breathing deeply, you will still benefit from the pose.

Letting Your Lower Back Dip

The success of this pose comes from keeping your core strong and lower back flat. If you have a tendency to let your lower back collapse, consider putting a taller yoga block underneath your stomach as a stopping point. When your torso touches the block, you know to engage your core and lift away. While it may feel challenging to engage certain muscles (in this case, your core) while releasing others (hips and inner thighs), that's part of the muscle intelligence yoga helps cultivate.

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

If your knees are sensitive, you can place additional blankets under them, or even fold up the ends of your yoga mat for extra cushioning. If the full frog pose is too uncomfortable or your hips and groin muscles are not able to move through the movement in its entirety, decrease the distance between your knees and don't lower your torso and hips as close to the ground. You can also consider bringing your feet closer together to decrease the intensity of the stretch. Another option involves placing yoga blocks under your hips to support your body as you work to increase the flexibility in your inner thighs. 

If none of these modifications work for your body, try flipping the whole thing over and lying on your back in happy baby pose (Ananda Balasana), which will stretch the same parts without the added bodyweight, which intensifies the stretch.

Up for a Challenge?

If you can stretch and breathe in the frog pose without pain and discomfort, you might be ready for a challenge. Try widening the distance between your knees and letting your torso and hips descend closer to the floor. You can also try sliding your feet a bit further apart to see if that intensifies or changes the stretch for you. Another option is to press your hips back slightly in the direction of your heels for an even deeper inner thigh stretch. As always, remember to move slowly and continue breathing steadily with any of these variations. 

Safety and Precautions

The frog pose is generally safe for most fitness levels. However, if you have any knee, groin, or hip injuries or discomfort, you may want to avoid this posture. After the first trimester, pregnant women should avoid this pose and take a seated hip opener like the cobbler's pose (Baddha Konasana) instead.

Additionally, if you have issues with your ankles or lower back, make sure to pay attention and address any discomfort or limited range of motion when performing the frog pose. Remember to ease into the stretch and avoid using force; it's normal to feel a stretch in the inner thighs, hips, and groin area, but you should never feel pain. If you feel any pain during this pose, stop and consider one of the modifications.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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Article Sources
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