How to Do Frog Pose (Mandukasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman on yoga mat doing frog pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Mandukasana 

Targets: Hips, groin muscles, lower back

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 improve your posture, open your hips, chest, and shoulders, and increase circulation.

It’s also an excellent exercise for increasing flexibility in your hips, groin or inner thigh muscles. The frog pose is a great move to add to your yoga line-up or perform on its own, especially if you want to open up your hips and practice some deep, slow, mindful breathing. 

For athletes or people who are physically active in fitness events that require running, cycling or 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, groin, and lower back opener that targets the muscles in your adductors, hips, and lower back. By stretching your adductors (inner thigh muscles), which are part of your groin muscles, you also get the benefit of strengthening your lower back while slowly and deliberately spreading your legs and opening the hips. 

If you spend a significant amount of time sitting during the day, performing the frog pose can counteract the adverse effects that come from spending too much time at a desk or in your car since it allows you to wake-up your hips, and more specifically, stretch out the groin muscles. 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 of time. 

You will gain the most benefits from the frog pose by staying in this position for longer holds while practicing deep breathing, which allows you to focus on the tighter areas of your hips.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Before you get into position, consider placing a yoga mat or blanket underneath you to help soften the impact of your knees to the floor. Additionally, depending on the width of the yoga mat, you may want to place a blanket next to it. This will help cover the area of the floor that your legs will span so that your knees are always supported.

  1. Begin in 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. 
  3. Inhale and slowly move your right knee out towards the side as you exhale. This step should feel comfortable. Do not force it. 
  4. Continue opening your hips as you turn your feet out towards the side. 
  5. Slowly soften your elbows and lower down to your forearms with the palms 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. There is no need to push deeper into the stretch once you find your point of comfort. Gravity will do the work while you focus on breathing. 
  1. Repeat three to five times. 

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 Down

If you’re new to this pose or you have limitations in your hips or knees, do not force your knees down in order to get closer to the ground. Only go down as far as you feel comfortable. You will still benefit from this movement pattern.

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. 

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

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 you lower your body. If this is still not enough of a modification, consider bringing your feet closer together. You can also place yoga blocks under your hips to support your body as you work to increase the flexibility in your inner thighs. 

If your knees are sensitive you can place blankets under them, or even fold up the ends of your yoga mat for additional cushioning.

Up for a Challenge?

If you’ve mastered the full range of motion in the frog pose without pain and discomfort, you might be ready for a challenge. There are a few ways to make the frog pose more challenging. First, try lowering your body farther by bringing your pubic bones closer to the floor. You can also press your hips back toward your heels. This will deepen the stretch you feel in your inner thighs, so make sure the muscles in your groin area are flexible. And as always, remember to go slow 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 exercise. 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 forcing the position as you lower your torso to the floor. It is 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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