Mandukasana: Frog Pose
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.
- Mandu = frog
- Asana = pose
- Stretches the inner hips and groins.
- Encourages length in the spine.
- Strengthens the back muscles.
- Child’s pose | Balasana
- Wide-legged forward fold | Prasarita padottanasan
- Bound angle pose | Baddha konasana
- Garland pose | Malasana
- Bound garland | Baddha malasana
- Crow pose | Bakasana
- Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
- Supine twist | Jathara parivartanasana
- Use a pillow or folded blanket under your knees.
- Place a bolster under your torso for additional support.
- Begin in a table top shape facing the long edge of your mat.
- Walk your knees out wider than your hips. Flex your feet so your toes face outward and your heels are directly behind your knees.
- Option to place additional padding (e.g. blanket) under your knees or walk your knees closer together.
- Walk your hands forward a little or a lot. If you have room, place your forearms on a block or on the ground.
- 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).
- Lift your belly away from the ground.
- Hold for up to two minutes, then gently release to child’s pose.
Malasana: Squat Pose or Garland Pose
A great stretch for ankles and the lower back, Malasana (mahl-AH-sana), which is also referred to as Squat or Garland pose, opens the groin and tones the belly. While comfortable for some, Malasana can be difficult for others. Appropriate adjustments and modifications can help students enjoy the benefits of this posture while strengthening and opening the muscles needed to practice Malasana and other postures.
Philosophy + Origin
There are many beautiful attempts to defend the translation of Malasana as “Garland Pose.” While mala most commonly refers to a garland or rosary, many students have a difficult time understanding how this imagery applies to the pose. Some teachers argue that the shape of the body depicts the bead on a mala, or perhaps the arms look like a mala or garland hanging from the neck. Other teachers will use the story of how this posture is traditionally taken when receiving the gift of a garland from a spiritual teacher. While all very poetic, there’s another lesser-known understanding of Malasana that makes more sense. The word mala can also be translated as excrement. Considering the digestive benefits of this posture, it makes a lot more sense.