Ardha Kurmasana

Definition - What does Ardha Kurmasana mean?

Ardha kurmasana is a beginner seated stretch used in Bikram yoga as a restorative asana. Bikram consists of the 26 asanas practiced in a hot, humid room.

From vajrasana, extend the arms overhead and bring the palms together, interlocking the thumbs. Then fold forward, resting the thumbs and forehead on the ground.

The name of this pose comes from the Sanskrit, ardha, meaning “half”; kurma, meaning “tortoise” or “turtle”; and asana, which means “posture” or “pose.” In English, it is called half tortoise pose.

Ardha Kurmasana

Yogapedia explains Ardha Kurmasana

In addition to its physical benefits (including increased flexibility and improved sleep), ardha kurmasana:

  • Improves memory
  • Boosts mental clarity
  • Calms the nervous system

Bikram Choudhury, who founded Bikram yoga, claims ardha kurmasana can even help yogis live longer.

Like the full version of kurmasana, ardha kurmasana is believed to activate the manipura (solar plexus) chakra, which is associated with transformative power and self-esteem. As a grounding pose, it also balances the muladhara (root) chakra, which promotes emotional security and stability.

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