Frog Pose, called Mandukasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga pose that targets your core, hips, and inner thighs. It’s sometimes referred to as downward-facing frog, or Adho Mukha Mandukasana.
Frog Pose often incorporates breathing and mindfulness practices. It offers many benefits, promoting relaxation and helping release mental and physical tension. The hip-opening posture suits a variety of levels and works wells as part of a Yin, Hatha, or Vinyasa sequence.
Read on to learn more about Frog Pose, including how to add it to your routine, its benefits, and modifications.
Since Frog Pose is a deep hip opener, ensure your body is warmed up before moving into the posture.
During this pose, maintain safe alignment while softening and releasing tension. Allow your breath to be your guide and make adjustments as necessary, maintaining a balance of effort and ease.
What areas does Frog Pose stretch and strengthen?
- low back
- groin muscles
- inner thighs
To do Frog Pose:
- Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
- Yield your weight forward onto your hands.
- Slowly, scoot your knees out to the sides, keeping them in line with your hips.
- Keep your knees bent and your ankles behind you, in line with your knees.
- Turn your toes out to the sides.
- Rest on your forearms with your elbows beneath your shoulders, placing your palms together or on the floor. You can also extend your hands forward, resting your chin or forehead on the floor.
- Sit back into your hips to deepen the pose.
- Breathe deeply, focusing on relaxing and releasing tension.
Hold this pose for up to 1 minute. With practice, you can hold it for 3–5 minutes. To release the pose, place your hands under your shoulders and gently bring your knees toward the center. Relax onto your belly or move into Child’s Pose or Downward-Facing Dog.
Tips for practicing Frog Pose:
- Place a folded yoga mat, flat cushion, or blanket under your knees or ankles for support.
- Rest your forehead or chest on a stack of blocks or cushions.
- Release the pose if you feel any discomfort or pain.
- To alleviate cramps, allow your belly to relax and soften.
- If you experience any strong emotions, rest in a comfortable position or a restorative pose, such as Child’s Pose or Corpse Pose.
Frog Pose is a deep hip opener thought to release emotions, especially when you hold it for several minutes and incorporate mindfulness techniques. You can incorporate Mandukasana into a longer yoga routine or add it into a hip-opening sequence.
1. Improves hip mobility and may ease back pain
Frog Pose may alleviate low back tightness, ease sciatica pain, and strengthen the back. It’s ideal for people who sit for extended periods, which can cause low back pain or tight hip flexors.
Frog Pose may also improve hip flexibility, mobility, and range of motion, which is useful for people who have tight hips due to running, swimming, or cycling.
2. May improve mental and emotional health
Adding breathing exercises to Frog Pose may provide even more benefits.
For example, you may focus your awareness on each breath, sensations that arise in your body, or a specific area of your body, such as your third eye or heart center. You can also pay attention to your alignment.
A recent review found that mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques significantly reduce chronic pain, improve quality of life, and boost mental health (
Frog Pose is often held for several minutes during Yin yoga classes, which often incorporate elements of mindfulness and relaxation, including breathing techniques.
According to one study, people who practiced Yin yoga alone or together with mindfulness practices reduced their stress, anxiety, and depression levels significantly more than those in the control group, who did not practice either (
Frog Pose has a calming effect on the body and mind, which can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. While more high quality research is needed, one review suggests that yoga may help alleviate symptoms of depression (
Yoga may also be a useful treatment among people with depression who do not take part in psychotherapy or take antidepressants due to various reasons.
3. May help diabetes management
Several yoga practices, including postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, are shown to positively affect type 2 diabetes management by helping regulate blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of complications.
One review found that yoga postures such as Frog Pose may improve pancreatic function. Holding poses for at least 30 seconds and gradually increasing the duration may offer the greatest benefit (
4. May boost circulation and help manage blood pressure
Practicing Frog Pose may improve circulation, helping boost blood flow and reduce high blood pressure.
The results of one analysis suggest that yoga offers the most benefit in managing high blood pressure when it’s combined with breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques (
5. May improve occupational stress
Yoga may help reduce the side effects of work-related stress, including digestive concerns, low back pain, and mood disorders.
One small study found that school principals who participated in a 1-week yoga training program involving lectures, breathing exercises, and postures — including extended Frog Pose — experienced reduced occupational stress and improved health (
Frog Pose is a deep hip opener suited for intermediate or advanced practitioners, but you can modify the pose to suit your level. There are also different variations to try.
To make Frog Pose easier, experiment with one of the following tips:
- Yield your weight forward onto your hands to reduce the pressure on your hips. You can slowly and gently move forward and backward to ease your way into the pose.
- Position your hands under your shoulders and keep your chest lifted. This allows you to have more control as you move your weight back toward your hips.
- You can practice this pose with the soles of your feet against the wall.
- Extend one arm or one leg at a time.
- Position your knees closer together.
- Bring your feet toward the center, touching your big toes together.
Extended Frog Pose, or Uttana Mandukasana in Sanskrit, is a seated variation of Frog Pose that encourages deep breathing, strengthens the spine, and improves posture. To make this pose easier, sit on the edge of a cushion or place your big toes slightly apart.
To do extended Frog Pose:
- Sit on your knees with your knees spread wide.
- Touch your big toes together behind your back with the soles of your feet facing upward.
- Cross your forearms behind your neck, placing your palms below the opposite shoulder blades.
- Elongate your spine and open your chest.
- Press your head back into your arms.
- Breathe deeply.
- Hold this pose for up to 3 minutes.
While Frog Pose offers many benefits, there are risks and precautions to consider. Most importantly, make sure you warm up your body before doing the pose. Slowly ease your way into the pose, and be careful not to force yourself into any position.
It’s important to be especially gentle when you’re stretching your hips. Listen to your body and make adjustments if needed.
Modify or avoid Frog Pose if you:
- have lower back, hip, or knee injuries or concerns
- are recovering from abdominal surgery
- have cardiovascular issues
- have ulcers
Even though you’re working on relaxing certain parts of your body, it’s important to maintain awareness and engage your muscles to support safe alignment. Do not force yourself into any position, and make sure you gently ease your way out of the pose.
Try to engage your core and elongate your spine instead of sagging or rounding your back. If it feels too intense or uncomfortable, adjust your body or use props to support a comfortable position.
If Frog Pose doesn’t work for you, you can always choose another hip-opening pose and possibly come back to it at another time.
Frog Pose, or Mandukasana, is a deep hip-opening pose that offers physical and emotional benefits.
It’s important to practice the pose safely. Gently ease your way in and out of the pose, and remember that your flexibility may change daily. You can modify Frog Pose to make it less intense or choose alternative hip-opening poses if they’re more suitable for your body.
Whichever way you practice Frog Pose, try to breathe and find some mindfulness as you hold the posture. Doing so will allow you to reap all the benefits that this hip opener has to offer.