Mandukasana: Frog Pose

floorfrog stephschwartz

Mandukasana (man-doo-KAHS-ah-nah) is a simple yet intense pose that brings length to the spine and deep stretches to the inner thighs and groins. This pose is best for warmed-up hips, and healthy knees and low backs.

SANSKRIT:

  • Mandu = frog
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches the inner hips and groins.
  • Encourages length in the spine.
  • Strengthens the back muscles.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • Garland pose | Malasana
  • Bound garland | Baddha malasana
  • Crow pose | Bakasana

COUNTER POSES:

  • Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
  • Supine twist | Jathara parivartanasana

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use a pillow or folded blanket under your knees.
  • Place a bolster under your torso for additional support.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in a table top shape facing the long edge of your mat.
  2. Walk your knees out wider than your hips. Flex your feet so your toes face outward and your heels are directly behind your knees.
  3. Option to place additional padding (e.g. blanket) under your knees or walk your knees closer together.
  4. Walk your hands forward a little or a lot. If you have room, place your forearms on a block or on the ground.
  5. Reach the crown of your head forward and your tailbone back. Keep your hips in the same plane as your knees (if you saw yourself from the side, knees would look like they’re under your hips).
  6. Lift your belly away from the ground.
  7. Hold for up to two minutes, then gently release to child’s pose.

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Parsvottanasana: Intense Side Stretch Pose

parsvottanasana nicoluce

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

From lengthening the spine to stretching the legs to calming the mind, there’s a little bit of everything in parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-ah-nah) Also known as intense side stretch pose or pyramid pose, this shape is helpful for finding balance while stretching hamstrings.

Parsvottanasana requires a combination of flexibility, strength, and patience. With the help of props such as blocks or a wall, the\is pose becomes accessible for everyone.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Blocks: Place hands on blocks to help keep the torso long.
  • Wall: Place hands on a wall in front of you to work on strengthening the muscles of the back.
  • Heart opening variation: Take the hands in reverse prayer position behind the back to stretch and open your shoulders and chest while also challenging your balance. If reverse prayer isn’t accessible, you can still bring the arms behind the back, reaching for opposite elbows instead.
  • Adjust your stance: If the back heel is lifted off of the floor, shorten the stance so you can push through the heel to activate the back leg. For more stability, widen your stance.
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