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Ardha Bhekasana or Half Frog Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Half-Frog Pose
Sanskrit
अर्ध- भेकआसन/ Ardha Bhekasana
Pronunciation
Are-dah bee-kahs-uh-nuh
Meaning
Ardha (अर्ध): means “half”
Bheka (भेक): means “frog”
Asana (आसन): “Asana” means “pose” or “posture.”

Ardha Bhekasana At a Glance

Ardha Bhekasana, or Half-Frog Pose, is an asymmetrical hip stretch and is very useful in opening the chest completely. This yoga pose is a good stretch for back muscles, hips, and shoulders. The pose is named so because the asana resembles a frog. It is called a frog pose, as only one leg is bent.

Benefits:

  • Ardha Bhekasana stretches mainly the quadriceps, hip flexors, and thigh muscles, thus enhancing the flexibility of these muscles.
  • The pose is a good chest opener.
  • The pose stimulates the abdominal organs, hence good for digestive issues.
  • The backbend in this pose helps to enhance spinal flexibility.
  • The pose is good for reducing belly fat.

Who Can do it?

People with healthy hips and knees, those who are flexible, can practice this pose.

Who Should Not Do?

People with lower back, hips or knee injuries, people with high blood pressure, people with severe back issues, and those with recent injuries should avoid this pose. Pregnant women should modify this pose.

How to Do Ardha Bhekasana?

Follow the Step by Step Instructions

  • Begin with the cobra or sphinx pose on your yoga mat. Open your chest with your forearms on your mat.
  • Involve your inner thighs and engage your legs. Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Bend the left leg and gently press the heel of the left leg towards your butt with no strain on the left knee.
  • Cross the left forearm in front of your body, then reach back and hold your left leg with your left hand.
  • With enough flexibility, you can pull your left leg more towards your butt. Maintain a comfortable backbend.
  • Keep the toes of your left leg stretched and pointed. Keep your elbow pointed out to the ceiling.
  • To deepen this pose, stretch your right arm straight and gaze in front or slightly downward. Then, maintain a deeper backbend by pushing your arm on the floor.
  • If you are not comfortable with your right hand straight on the floor, you can practice initially with your forearms on the floor.
  • With your right hand, keep pushing the floor; with your left hand, pull your left foot more towards your butt. Hold the pose for a few breaths till you are comfortable. Maintain deep breathing.
  • Release the pose slowly by releasing your left leg and returning to the cobra pose with your forearms on your mat.
  • Repeat the same steps. This time, bend your right knee, point towards your butt, hold your right foot with your right hand, pull towards your right hip, and straighten your left arm.

What are the Benefits of Ardha Bhekasana?

  • Ardha Bhekasana stretches the quadriceps, thighs, and hip flexors. Thus, it improves flexibility.
  • The pose opens the chest, thus enhancing respiratory issues.
  • The pose strengthens the back muscles. Thus promoting correct posture and spinal flexibility.
  • The pose enhances digestion by massaging the abdominal organs.
  • The pose helps in improving good circulation throughout the body.
  • The pose acts as a preparatory pose for many backbends.
  • The pose strengthens the ankles and feet.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Ardha Bhekasana

  • People with tight hips benefit from this pose as it enhances the flexibility of tight hips, thighs, and quadriceps.
  • Ardha Bhekasana helps relieve lower back issues by increasing spinal flexibility.
  • The pose is good for respiratory issues since it opens the chest completely.
  • The pose stimulates the thyroid gland and helps in reducing belly fat.
  • The pose aids digestion by stimulating digestive organs.
  • The pose helps to uplift your mood since it is a backbend and an effective chest opening pose.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with knee, lower back, hip, or neck injuries should avoid this pose.
  • People with recent hip, knee, or lower back injuries should avoid this pose.
  • Pregnant women, people with high blood pressure, and people with heart conditions should modify this pose.

Common Mistakes

  • As it is a back bend and you need strength and flexibility, keep your hips stretched and push it further into the mat.
  • Do backbend according to your flexibility. Do not overach your spine. Do not cause any strain on the knee of the bent leg.
  • Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed as one of the hands is back, so focus on alignment properly.
  • While holding your foot with one hand, keep your elbow out. Involve your abdominal muscles.
  • Open your chest and keep breathing during the pose. Engage your core with your naval in.
  • Practice on both sides and do a few stretches before practicing this pose. Keep your gaze forward.
  • Consult a yoga teacher, if needed, and modify the pose as per your flexibility.

Tips for Ardha Bhekasana

  • Start with a gentle warm-up for your hips, shoulders, ankles, and core. Practice the sphinx pose, and gently hold your foot from the prone position.
  • You can modify the pose by keeping a folded blanket as support for lifting your upper body off the floor.
  • Always practice mindfully. Practice this pose and variation according to your flexibility and strength.
  • Keep the basic alignment of the pose in mind,
  • Do not hold your breath during the practice. Practice a few preparatory poses like Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana before.
  • Progress slowly.

The Physical Alignment Principles of Ardha Bhekasana

  • As the pose is asymmetrical, maintain your body weight even on your hips during the backbend and stretch. Keep your fingers pointing forward during the hold with your hand.
  • Do not turn too much on the left or right while holding your foot. Maintain the smoothness in the pose by going slow with breathing.
  • Keep your shoulder relaxed and engage your core. Do not cause any tension in the neck.
  • You can practice Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog pose) as its counter pose.

Ardha Bhekasana and the Breath

Breathing should be deep and conscious throughout the practice of this pose. With each inhalation, you get the energy flow in your body, and with each exhalation. Relax your muscles. Feel the energy and progress mindfully.  Coordinate each of your movements with your breath and while holding the pose, practice a few more breathing to relax in the pose.

Ardha Bhekasana Variations

  • You can practice this pose against a wall to support lifting your back. Take the support of one of your hands to push your back gently into the backbend, or you can place a folded blanket underneath your body and then lift.
  • Makarasana (crocodile pose)
  • Bhekasana (frog pose)

Take Away

Ardha Bhekasana, or half-frog pose, is an excellent pose for yoga practitioners since it makes you more flexible and challenges you to go deeper into yoga. The pose is also commonly found with many athletes and people outside yoga practice. It is both the backbend as well as the deep stretch.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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