Frog it!

Hip flexibility comes with a number of advantages. It will not only enhance your climbing performance by improving your range of motion, but it also contributes to the health of your body. It promotes better posture and releases the load on the spine caused by tight hips, reducing the risk of lower back pain.

There are about 20 muscles around the hip joint, which are divided into 4 major groups, the Adductors being one them. Mandukasana (or Frog Pose) is in my opinion, one of the most efficient poses to stretch these muscles.

Getting into the pose

From a wide Child’s Pose slide your arms forwards, and for a few breathes keep yourself seated on your heels as you elongate your body forwards.

Now, place your forearms on the floor, move your hips forwards and slide your heels away from each other, making sure your feet are flexed, toes pointing out to the sides. Then slowly start to bring your hips back again, but just go as far as your body will allow. If you feel discomfort, move your hips forwards a fraction to ease the stretch. Keep your back long and gaze down so your neck is in line with the spine. Hold for 15-30 seconds.

To come out, move your body forwards as you slowly bring your feet and knees together. Rest in Child’s Pose.

Please be aware that this pose can be pretty uncomfortable on the knees, especially if you are practising on a hard floor.  To address this, I would recommend the use of a couple of blankets under each knee for cushioning.

frog with blankets

Variation

This is a gentler way of practising Frog that I often use in class.

From a Table Top position, slide your left foot to the side so that your heel is in line with your right knee.

Gently press the outer edge of your left foot towards the floor and slide it away from you, walking your hands as you move your torso left, so they are in line with your shoulders. Keep the right foot flexed with toes pointing out to the right. Go as far as your body will allow and stop.

Now you have the option to bring your forearms to the floor.

ardha manduka forearms

If your spine rounds a lot here, you can stay with straight arms, or use a support for your forearms like a couple of yoga blocks.

ardha manduka bricks

Stay for a few breaths then bring your right leg back to a table top and rest in Child’s Pose for a moment before doing the other side.

 

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