Each Month, starting January 2018 and continuing through December 2018, I will present concise illustrated instructions for a yoga pose (if not two or three) that you can practice along with. Strung together, the twelve poses make up a balanced yoga sequence. This sequence will incorporate a warm-up at the start, then poses to take you through a wide range of movement and focused work, and finishes with some resting poses.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July

June
Bhekasana:
frog pose

Benefits: Bhekasana provides a very powerful stretch for the front body. It also strengthens the back muscles and stimulates the abdominal organs.

Models: Lisa Rotell, Susan Turis, Kirsten Dalsgaard, Carolyn Christie.

Bhekasana is best practiced after warming up with some standing poses or some preparatory backbends such as Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero's Pose),

 

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose),

Because of the challenging nature of this pose, practice Eka Pada Bhekasana first to learn how to open up the front of your body (one side at a time) and to learn the proper hand placement.

Lie on your belly with legs extended. Place your left forearm on the floor in front of you, parallel to the mat. Lift each leg a little, and rotate your thighs inward. Then bend your right knee and reach your hand onto the inside of your right foot.

Rotating the hand takes lots of practice: pivot your hand so that your wrist is facing backward and your knuckles and fingers face forward in the same direction as the toes. At the same time, slowly rotate your elbow toward the ceiling. Slide your fingers over the top of the foot and extend them out through the fingertips.

2) With the base of your palm, take the top of your foot toward your buttock, and slightly off to the side. Keep your knee in line with your hip.

3) Square your shoulders with the front of the mat and don't collapse into your left shoulder; press down with your elbow to lift your chest as high as you can.

4) Check that the fronts of both pelvic crests are level and are pressing down into the floor. Let your gaze extend softly out past your nose.

Do Eka Pada Bhekasana on each side for the same length of time, thirty seconds to two minutes. Once your thighs and groins open enough, you can try the full pose-both legs at the same time.

Beginner's Tip: Support the lift of the upper torso with a bolster under your lower ribs, and press your free forearm on the floor in front of the bolster.

Practice Points:

Press the bent–knee hipbone down into the floor and lengthen the thigh back towards the knee.
Soften and widen the buttocks.
Lengthen the tailbone towards the bent knee.
Widen the collarbones.
Lengthen the neck.

Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

1) To come into full Bhekasana, lie on your belly. Begin by rotating your thighs inward to help release the sacrum and the piriformis.

2) Bend the knees, and reach back and hold the tops of both feet. Then pivot on the heels of your hands so your wrists point back and your fingers point forward, in the same direction as your toes.

3) Press down on the tops of the feet to bring the toes and heels toward the floor alongside the hips; at the same time, lift your chest, head, and shoulders into a backbend.

contraindications and cautions:

High or low blood pressure
Migraine
Insomnia
Low back, neck or shoulder injuries
Don't push your foot too hard if it hurts your knee
Knee injury – see an experienced teacher

With thanks and gratitude to my teachers, BKS Iyengar (1918-2014), Prashant Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, Abhijata Sridhar, and Sunita Parthasarthy.

Drawings and text © Bobby Clennell. All rights reserved. No reproduction without prior permission.

©2008 – 2018 Bobby Clennell.