Half Frog Pose is a treat for the entire body – not only does it stretch your chest, belly, and thighs, it serves as a conditioning exercise for the shoulders and back. Its place in a yoga sequence is usually towards the end once the body is warmed up and needs some release.
“A great time to practice Half Frog Pose is after a standing sequence,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “It works wonders for releasing tension from legs and hips while simultaneously strengthening the upper body.”
Half Frog Pose Quick Look
Sanskrit Name: Ardha Bhekasana
Pose Type: Chest-Opening Yoga Poses, Yoga Backbend Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Quadriceps, hip flexors, knees, ankles, and back.
Benefits: This asana is asymmetrical, which means it conditions the body to stay in balance even when the weight isn’t distributed evenly on both sides. Holding the Sphinx backbend with just one arm for support, for instance, strengthens shoulder and chest muscles and promotes a healthy posture. This translates well for those who have a desk job and find themselves leaning on one arm more than the other. In the lower body, Half Frog Pose strengthens the muscles in the glutes, legs, and lower back. It also stretches the quadriceps, hip flexors, knee ligaments, and ankles. Great pose for runners, cyclists, and other athletes whose sport has a big impact on their lower body.
Preparatory Poses: Cobra Pose, Sphinx Pose, Hero Pose
How to Do Half Frog Pose Step-By-Step
- Start in a prone position. Position your hands either side of your face, with the forearms parallel to each other. Press the tops of your feet into the ground and engage the muscles in your legs and glutes.
- On an inhale, draw your chest forward as you lift your head and chest into Sphinx Pose.
- Bend your right leg and reach back with your right arms until you can hold onto your foot. Do not let the torso collapse forward.
- Keep bringing your right foot towards your glutes. Bend your right arm and pull the elbow in. Press down on the foot to get it closer to the outer hip.
- Stay here for a few breaths before releasing the foot and returning to prone position for recovery. Repeat on the other side.
It can be quite challenging to uphold the backbend in the upper spine with only one arm for support. Alternatively, you can turn the front forearm parallel to your chest to distribute the weight more evenly across both sides. If you struggle to reach your ankle, you can use a yoga strap to connect your hand and foot. Equally, you don’t have to push past your limits. Performing the full variation of this pose takes practice, so it is perfectly normal not to be able to bring your heel to your glute or outer hip.