Kurmasana is an advanced level yoga asana performed in the seated position. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words 'Kurma' and 'Asana' which means 'tortoise' and 'posture' respectively. By performing this pose regularly, a person can align their emotional, physical, and mental columns to support the overall structure of the body. Kurmasana stimulates Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra) and Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra).
Steps to do Tortoise Pose / Kurmasana
- Sit in Dandasana.
- Place the hands on the ground beside the hips.
- Press the thighs into the floor, flex the toes and lift the chest, keep the knees as wide as your shoulders, keeping the toes flexed, bend the knees.
- Extend the arms and chest forward towards the ground in between the legs.
- Fold the legs a little bit more so that you can drop the shoulders under the knees, stretch the arms out to the sides, rotate the thighs inward and straighten out the legs.
- Inhale to stretch the arms and chest to the sides, exhale to extend the spine forward, take a few breaths in the pose and release.
Tips for beginners
- Beginners should strictly adhere to the rules, before practising this posture.
- Kurmasana is a challenging forward-bending posture that calls for a lot of flexibility. Don't try to force yourself in order to attain final posture.
- It stretches your legs, back, shoulders and chest also.
- It improves the functions of the respiratory and digestive systems.
- It lengthens the back muscles.
- The stance helps you to spread out both your shoulders and your hips.
Watch out for
- Avoid this asana in case of shoulder, back and arm injury.
- Pregnant women must avoid this asana.
- People suffering from sciatica or chronic arthritis should not do this asana.
- Those who suffer from Herniated disks must avoid this asana.
- To deepen the practise of this posture there is another variation called Ardha kurmasana.
- In this asana the knees are placed in the position of Vajrasana and are bent forward over them.