Manduki Mudra, the Frog Gesture in Yoga - Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications
By VINEET KAUL | Reviewed by SONJA JUNKOVA
Learn how to practice Manduki Mudra – the Frog Gesture in Yoga.
A yoga body gesture to stay youthful and delay aging.
We also explore two variations, one of which is Manduki Kriya.
Manduki Mudra, or the Frog Gesture, is one of the six kaya mudras (body gestures) used in several styles of yoga, particularly Iyengar, Hatha, Kriya, and Kundalini Yoga. Don’t confuse it with Mandukasana (Frog Pose), a commonly used pose in yoga asana sequences.
Yoga novices can read our detailed post to learn more about kaya mudras. But briefly, the term refers to body gestures, one of the five types of yoga mudras. The other four are hand gestures, head gestures, pelvic gestures, and body locks (bandhas).
“Manduki Mudra can do wonders for your sense of smell and digestion. You can attempt it after a few weeks of learning yoga or if you can comfortably sit in kneeling poses like Vajrasana,” says Vineet Kaul, who keenly practices Nada and Kundalini Yoga.
Kaya mudras like Pashinee Mudra or Yoga mudrasana are advanced practices, but even beginners can safely practice the Manduki gesture. According to yoga texts, it targets the facial muscles, strengthens the pelvic floor, improves digestion, and keeps you youthful.
Here we discuss the steps and benefits of Manduki Mudra along with two variations.
What is Manduki Mudra (Frog Gesture)
Manduki Mudra is a yoga body gesture that involves sitting in a kneeling pose with closed eyes and bringing awareness to the eyebrow center. In this practice, you swirl the tongue in the mouth and rest the tongue tip on the upper palate. This position is held for 3 to 5 minutes before returning to Sukhasana or Dandasana.
Manduk (मंडूक) is the Sanskrit word for “frog” and mudra (मुद्रा) is Sanskrit for seal or gesture. When put together, Manduki Mudra becomes the Frog Gesture in Yoga. You can practice this in Bhadrasana (Auspicious Pose), Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), or Virasana (Hero Pose).
“You can find the description of Manduki in a 17th-century text called Gheranda Samhita. It's one of the three seminal texts of Hatha Yoga," says Vineet Kaul. “The book says yogis who practice Manduki stay youthful and taste amrita (nectar) that drips from the Crown Chakra.”
Purpose and Significance
The primary purpose of Manduki Mudra is to attain a state of higher consciousness. The two crucial elements of this practice are a) the point of awareness (eyebrow center or Bindu) and b) touching the tongue tip to the upper palate. The Virasana pose is recommended, but you can also practice Manduki in Baddha Konasana (Bound Triangle) or Bhradrasana (Gracious Pose).
First, we will explain the significance of Bindu. Bindu is a Sanskrit word for a point, although it has a deeper meaning in Indic philosophy. In Kundalini, Tantra, and Kriya Yoga, Bindu or Nasagra refers to a point between the eyebrows. Bindu is a point that represents divine consciousness (Shiva) and divine energy (Shakti).
Yogis consider Bindu to be a doorway to pure consciousness. According to Tantra Yoga texts, the Bindu is a storehouse of nectar (amrita). Many yoga and meditation practices involve bringing awareness to the eyebrow center to transcend it, sip the divine nectar, and attain Samadhi.
It helps to learn Nasagra Mudra, Alternate Nostril Breathing, and Virasana before learning this mudra. Moreover, you can prepare the body with the following yoga poses –
Bhadrasana (Gracious Pose)
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Triangle Pose)
Malasana (Garland Pose)
Mandukasana (Frog Pose)
Here are the steps to practice Manduki Mudra for its health and spiritual benefits.
1. Roll out your yoga mat and sit in Virasana or any pose from the Vajrasana family. Keep the knees at least 18 inches apart. The buttocks should be touching the ground, but you can use a yoga bolster or block under the sit bones for additional comfort.
2. Close the eyes and relax the body. Place the hands on the thighs forming Adi Mudra, and place the fists in the hip fold, pressing against the stomach.
3. Bring awareness to any of these: the eyebrow center, Root Chakra, or the nose-tip.
4. Close your mouth and keep the jaw relaxed. Take slow deep breaths. Rotate the tongue in the mouth and rest the tip of the tongue on the upper palate. Hold this position for 3 to 5 minutes.
5. You’ve completed one round of Manduki Mudra. It's hard to stay in kneeling poses for extended periods, so shift to Staff Pose and rest for a minute before attempting another round.
6. If you want to improve appetite, digestion, or sense of smell, swirl the tongue in front of the teeth before you touch the tip of the tongue to the upper palate. It will cause yoga to salivate and produce digestive enzymes. In this case, one round of Manduki is enough to achieve your goals.
Time and Duration
Manduki Mudra can be done at any time of the day on an empty stomach. Beginners can attempt one to three rounds in one session and gradually progress to five sets. It is more effective to increase the duration rather than adding more sets in this yoga practice.
Manduki mudra rejuvenates the body and improves energy levels.
It targets the facial muscles and makes a yogi appear youthful.
Manduki can delay aging, particularly graying of hair and wrinkles on the face.
It stimulates the pineal gland and brings mental clarity.
The sitting position targets the muscles and organs in the pelvic region.
Awareness at the eyebrow center during Manduki improves focus and concentration.
Manduki Mudra also improves a yogi’s sense of taste and smell.
Swirling the tongue causes salivation, which increases appetite and improves digestion.
Variations and Modifications
You can use Manduki mudra as a standalone practice or do it for a few minutes before meditation. It can be used after an asana sequence as it restores energy levels and rejuvenates the mind. Here are two variations of the Frog Gesture for different yoga skill levels.
The Frog Gesture is a part of Hatha Yoga, but there is a subtle variation of it in Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga called Manduki Kriya. In Manduki Kriya, a yogi must sit in Bhadrasana (Gracious Pose) with Nasagra Drishti and touch the tongue tip to the upper palate. The hands rest on the thighs and form the Chin Mudra. The kriya is done for 10+ minutes with steady, even breathing.
Note: Nasagra Drishti means bringing awareness to the eyebrow center (Ajna Chakra).
Manduki Mudra with Mula Bandha
Tadagi mudra is similar to Uddiyana bandha, another yoga technique that massages the abdominal organs and strengthens digestion. Therefore, you can modify your practice by adding the Uddiyana bandha during the breath suspension part of this practice. You attain extra health benefits as both practices strengthen digestion and tone the core muscles.
Safety and Precautions
Manduki Mudra is contraindicated in arthritis and pregnancy. People suffering from hip or leg pain, or those recovering from a leg injury or surgery, should wait for a full recovery before attempting the Frog Gesture. You can practice mudra with supportive props like pranayama bolsters or stacked yoga blankets for additional comfort.
We hope this article encourages you to explore Manduki Mudra to deepen your practice. There are 5 other Kaya mudras: Prana Mudra, Tadagi Mudra, Pashinee Mudra, Viparita Karani Mudra, and Yogamudra Asana. We've outlined the steps and benefits for each in separate posts.
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