Ardha Bhekasana, or Half Frog (‘ardha’ means ‘half’ in Sanskrit), is an ideal winter pose because it heats the body and is said to destroy disease by stimulating the organs. Ardha Bhekasana stretches the whole front of the body, improves posture and strengthens the muscles in the back. Ardha Bhekasana is a challenging pose but can be practiced with many variations that make it more accessible.
How to practice Ardha Bhekasana:
1. Begin by lying down. Press forearms into the ground and lift upper torso.
2. Internally rotate one leg and bend the knee, drawing the heel towards the buttock on the same side. With the hand on the same side, reach back and grasp the inside of the foot, supporting yourself with the other hand.
3. The heel of your palm should be pressing the top of the foot as you position your elbow toward the ceiling. Be gentle as you hold your foot, especially if you are prone to knee pain.
4. Square your shoulders and ensure your supporting arm doesn’t collapse into the shoulder – keep your chest lifted. Keep the line of the hips down to the bent knee.
5. If your flexibility allows if, take the foot off the buttock and move it toward the ground. A bolster can be used to help keep the chest open and lifted.
6. Repeat on the other leg.