Bhekasana provides a strong stretch on the quads, is a bit of a backbend, and opens the front of the shoulders and chest. It is also one of the few poses in yoga to strongly stretch the tops of the feet. This is the full version of the pose. For a more beginning variation, take one leg at a time in Half Frog.
Begin by lying down on your belly. Bend the legs and lifting the head and chest, reach back for the feet. Beginners can take the outside of the feet here to bring the heels in toward the buttocks. Those with more open thighs will take the inside of the feet with the thumb facing up. On an inhale, again lift the head and shoulders away from the floor. Then, lifting the elbows toward the ceiling, rotate the palms so that the hand presses into the top of the foot with the fingers curled around the toes. The more open the front of the shoulders (and pectoralis minor) are, the easier it is to curl the fingers around the toes here. Also, the more open the quads are to begin the easier this becomes. Taking Virasana before Frog can be a great preparatory pose as it a similar action in the legs, just flipped over.
As flexibility allows, you can take the heels to the outside of the hip and press them down toward the floor (being careful not to stress the knee). Keep the tailbone tucked and make sure the knees stay in line with the hips. Also check to make sure that the thigh is centered (neither internally or externally rotated). If you feel any pain in the knees, you might need to come out, stretch out the legs and come in again with more attention to your alignment. If you still feel pain, come out and take a different pose or simply rest.
Hold for as long as feels comfortable here, trying to lengthen through the low back as you reach the sternum forward and breath evenly. Once you are done, release the feet to extend the legs and press back to downward dog for a few breaths.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!