If there was a pose in yoga that I am not a great fan of, it would be Bhekasana (the Frog)! As someone who has suffered from a torn ACL in the past, the unnatural rotation of the knees when bringing the heels towards the floor by your hips always made me cringe a little.
So I started trying to do the pose bringing my heels towards my buttocks instead, aligning them with my knees, which felt ok, but still not quite right for what I wanted to achieve, which was a nice stretch on my chest muscles (especially the deltoids) and Quads.
Then I discovered Ardha Bekhasana, the Half Frog! Personally, I decided that focusing on doing one side at a time made things easier and more efficient when trying to isolate those muscles. This is now part of my regular practice, as it feels wonderful as a post climbing stretch and as preparation for deeper backbends.
Getting into the pose:
- Start on Sphinx: lying on your belly, press your forearms against the mat to lift your chest off the mat. Forearms are parallel to each other, elbows directly under the shoulders and wrists in line with elbows. Keep your tailbone lengthening towards your heels and rotate your outer thighs towards the floor to keep your lower back nice and long.
- Bring your left forearm parallel to the front edge of your mat. Use this to support your shoulders. Don’t let your chest drop.
- Trying to keep your shoulders in line, bend your right knee and grab the inside edge of your foot with your thumb facing up.
- This might be enough for you for now, but if you’d like to go further, you can start to rotate your elbow upwards, sliding your hand so it is now pressing against the top of your foot. Use this grip to bring the foot towards the right buttock. Go as far as you are comfortable and hold for a few breaths, before gently releasing the foot. Repeat on the other side.
Why not try….
For a deeper backbend you can resist your foot away from you, before brining it towards your buttock!