Ardha Bhekasana a loving treat for the entire body

Yoga’s Half Frog Pose (Ardha Bhekasana), a hip and back stretch for beginners, strengthens the back, hips, feet, knees, chest, and neck. Due to its asymmetric behavior, which results in only one leg being stretched, the name Half or Ardha is used.

Half Frog Pose, a part of the backbend yoga sequence, helps to open the chest, acts as a heart opener, and is very effective for the lower back. Half Frog Pose can be practiced as cooling or counterpose following the practice of challenging hip openers, or it can be incorporated into vinyasa yoga sequences to strengthen the hips, knees, and ankles for other advanced poses. The biceps and triceps muscles in the arms, as well as the pose, benefit greatly.

STEPS FOR HALF FROG POSE:

  • With your elbows tucked under your shoulders, assume the Sphinx position while lying on your stomach.
  • Draw your belly in and tuck your pubic bone down.
  • Cross the left forearm in front of the body.
  • Bring your right foot toward your right hip by bending your right knee and reaching back with your right hand to hold the top of your foot.
  • Soften the top of the right thigh.
  • If your foot is close to your buttocks, turn your hand so that your fingers are pointing forward, your elbow is pointing upward, and your hand’s heel is pressing against the top of your foot.
  • Maintain a comfortable forward-facing posture with your chest open and your front arm raised.
  • Before releasing the foot gradually, hold for five breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS OF HALF FROG POSE:

  • Stretches and Strengthens: In Half Frog Pose, the lower body is stretched deeply from the hips to the tips of the toes.It is an all-over body workout because the hamstrings, gluteus, pelvic floor muscles, back, triceps, and biceps contract to support the backbend caused by the deep quadriceps and side abdominal muscle stretches. Deep stretches at the quadriceps and side abdominal muscles during Half Frog Pose practice help open these muscles and strengthen and tighten them. These muscles are crucial for giving the hips strength and stability so they can be incorporated into hip openers.
  • Awareness, Balance, and Alignment: When performing Ardha Bhekasana, the body’s weight should be evenly distributed on the front hips while being mindful to avoid excessive torso twisting. Maintaining better body balance while keeping the head, shoulders, hips, and legs in alignment is made possible by this awareness. These actions will assist the brain in recognizing the appropriate stretch, strength, and balance, thereby preparing the body and mind for more challenging poses.
  • Organs, Chakras, and Stimulation: The half-frog pose directly affects the abdominal organs due to their prone position. The backbend stretch and contraction of the abdominal muscles exert light pressure on the deeper abdominal muscles and tissues, affecting the associated organs. The adrenal gland and other stimulated glands are brought into balance.
  • The balance of the adrenal gland is necessary for it to function properly, including producing the sex hormones and the cortisol hormone in response to stress or a sudden shock from external stimuli. Pressure from the backbend action on the neck causes the thyroid gland to become active. The active use of various muscles stimulates the chakras, including the heart, throat, and solar plexus chakra.

  • Energizing and breathing:

  • In this pose, the backbend engages the chest and rib cage to support the backbend and opens the heart.This encourages using the intercostal muscles to breathe deeply, which increases lung capacity by allowing enough oxygen to flow into the lungs.This deep opening of the front of the body during the isometric contraction creates more breathing room for the lungs.Due to its comforting effects on the spine and stimulation of the pulmonary system, the pose can be extremely energizing.Clear signals to the brain are much more likely to be sent from a healthy nervous system spine.

  • Therapy and Healing:

  • Half Frog Pose can be used to treat neck stiffness brought on by prolonged desk work because it actively engages the head, neck, shoulders, and arms.
    Using a healing technique to treat plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and foot pain is possible.
    This practice can be taught to students with a family history of hip, knee, or hand arthritis because it only affects one side of the body at once.
    Lower back pain can be investigated with the help of the muscles in the legs, stomach, and gluteus, which all work together to support the spine and back.

  • Preparatory Pose:

  • Half Frog Pose, or Ardha Bhekasana, primes the body for more challenging flows like Frog Pose, Bow Pose, or even more basic poses like Eka Pada Dhanurasana Variation and others.
    This pose can be incorporated into yoga backbend sequences and a warm-up for challenging backbend poses.
    It can help athletes like runners, swimmers, acrobats, gymnasts, etc. cool down their overstretched hamstrings and glutes after the activity, as mentioned earlier, because the pose is entirely about stretching the entire body and can be practiced as part of cool-down practices.

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR HALF FROG POSE:

  1. Injury and surgery:

  2. Even though this pose is excellent for relieving back pain, students should avoid it if they have ever undergone surgery on their shoulders, hips, or knees. Consider doing the Supported Half Frog Pose, where the rigidity of the spine, back, shoulders, or hips can be minimized when performed with assistance, as it will become difficult to get into or out of the pose.
    Students recovering from surgery on their abdominal organs, hearts, spines, hips, or knees should inform the yoga teacher, and the yoga teacher should be aware of such cases of their students while introducing the pose (even if the surgery was performed years ago).

  1. Diseases and safe procedures:

  2. Students at risk include those who have experienced spondylolisthesis in any part of the spine, so precautions should be taken to ensure safe procedures.
    People with problems with any abdominal organs should also take safety measures, such as supporting the front hips and abdomen with a blanket.
    IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)-related severe conditions are also contraindicated, and such students should exercise caution.

  1. Women:

  2. Due to the pressure on the abdomen, pregnant women, in particular, should avoid practicing this pose. Alternatively, women who have recently given birth should wait around eight weeks before beginning this practice or any yoga pose.
    Women who have had a caesarean section should refrain from this practice until their doctor advises it.

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