Friday, January 13, 2012
So why Frog Posture? Well, in my classes this past week, we've been working on hip openers and lengthening tight hamstrings. Lots of my students complain about being inflexible particularly in their hips and hamstrings. Mandukasana is a great pose to work the inner thighs and it really opens up the hips. It's intense, but quite effective if you are wanting to create a deeper release in this part of the body. It is a great compliment to other hip openers like Warrior II, Side Angle Pose, and Bound Angle Pose (Cobbler's Pose). Try Frog Posture to bring depth to your practice.
Here's an intention that you might want to explore while performing this pose. As mentioned, this is a deep and intense posture. If you're wanting to advance in your own yoga practice or even in your everyday life, this is the type of pose to practice. If you're feeling complacent or even a bit stagnant in your life journey, again, this pose can be a wonderful way to take that next step. It's a way to see that you DO have the strength, tenacity, and ability to move forward to reach your personal goals.
Mandukasana (Frog Posture)
Start by coming to your hands and knees on your (Manduka) mat. Here is where you might want to set your personal intention. Because this is an intense pose (and adds great sensation to the knees and inner thighs) you may want to turn sideways on your mat and fold in the ends toward the center so that you have extra padding for your knees.
From here, begin to slowly walk your knees away from your center. Allow your ankles to follow directly behind your knees. You will keep moving the knees and ankles outward until you begin to experience the deep stretch in the inner thighs. Also, your knees will be in directly alignment with your hips. Be sure that your hips are not too far forward, past your knees or too far back, behind the knees. Your bent legs (that will now resemble frogs' legs) will maintain a right angle throughout the posture. (Refer to the picture.)
Your pelvis may not touch the floor, nor does it have to. You will feel the intensity of the posture even before getting close to the ground! Move to a place where you feel the depth of your pose. Hold here and breathe. Take mindful intentional breaths. Allow the breath to guide you deeper into the posture if you desire or to simple hold you in the pose. There is no need to push or force yourself into the pose for risk of injury. As you hold the posture and experience the sensation, just remind yourself that you are safe, secure, strong, solid, and able to be here in this new place. It can be difficult at times when we are off the mat to step into the things that might seem challenging or scary. Remember your resources: You ARE strong. You ARE tenacious. You ARE able to pursue AND achieve the goals you desire.
Hold Frog Posture for at least 15 breaths. Stay in the intensity. When you are ready to move out of the posture, move slowly. Start by bringing your feet together behind you. Push your hands into the floor to help relieve the pressure in your inner thighs. Slowly walk your knees back together. Sit back on your heels (Hero Pose), sit up tall, and take a few more breaths as the body continues to find relief from this intense inner thigh stretch. Not only will you gain more flexibility in your inner thighs with this pose, but you'll find that you can withstand new challenges that come your way.