Health Benefits Of Kurmasana & Its Variations

Yoga has many beneficial poses for the human body and Kurmasana or Tortoise pose is just one of them. The Tortoise pose is so called because the final position the person to the end of the pose resembles that of a tortoise – the person’s limbs are spread outwards.

The Tortoise pose in yoga is a seated pose and a little difficult pose to do.


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Steps :

  1. Start this pose by either doing the Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) or Dandasana (Staff Pose). Now spread out your legs as wide as you can.
  2. While bending both your knees you should put your arms under your bent knees.
  3. Continue to move your arms even further under your legs – till they reach behind your back. Keep the palms of your hands facing downwards while doing this.
  4. Now slowly begin to straighten your legs and use them to pull your shoulders towards the floor.
  5. Let your forehead or chin touch the floor or alternatively, let your head hang downwards.
  6. Hold this position while breathing 3-8 times.

Precautions :

  • Never overstrain the muscles while attempting this pose.
  • If you are a beginner or even regular into yoga, stay within your limits and listen to your instructor for guidance to do the pose.
  • Breathe in and breathe out the way you would under normal circumstances while you are in final position of this pose.
  • Also bear in mind that this pose should not be performed if you are suffering from any recent arm, hip or shoulder injuries.

Beginner’s Tip :

If you are new to the practice of yoga and are attempting this pose, keep this beginner’s tip for the Tortoise pose in mind. You can use some props if you find certain positions in this pose difficult. For instance, you might find it difficult to get your soles to touch the floor. In this case, you can put either a blanket ( fold it before doing so) or a high pillow under your leg to support it while it is extended.

It is important that you have a trained professional yoga instructor to guide you through the pose.

Benefit to Body Part :

  • This pose helps you to stretch your back and your legs.
  • It helps to improve the functioning of the digestive and respiratory systems.
  • It helps to lengthen the muscles along your back.
  • The organs in the abdomen are stimulated during this posture.
  • The posture helps you to spread out both your shoulders and your hips.
  • It aids in relaxation as the neck , head and shoulders relax during this pose.
  • The spine is elongated during the practice of this yoga posture.
  • Any tightness that is present in the lumbar and sacrum areas are released during this pose.

Therapeutic Applications :

  • It increases the flow of blood to the brain. This in turn helps with mental clarity and memory.
  • The lower part of the lungs are stretched during this pose and this aids in digestion, and also helps people who suffer from asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, flatulence.
  • It is a great stress buster.
  • It also helps with dealing with various sleep disorders like insomnia.
  • This pose stretches the spine and is thus beneficial in the treatment of any spinal or back problem.

Variations :

  • Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha Kūrmāsana)
  • Upside-Down Tortoise Pose (Uttana Kūrmāsana)
  • Sleeping Tortoise Pose (Supta Kūrmāsana)

Preparatory poses :

Yoga PosesFind Pose
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