Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Kurma Mean?

Kurma is the second of the 10 incarnations of the Hindu god, Vishnu, who took the form of a tortoise; hence, the name, which is Sanskrit for “turtle” or “tortoise.” Kurma is also thought to be derived from the word, karma, meaning "duty," "action" or "deed." Kurma also represents perseverance.


Yogapedia Explains Kurma

In Hindu legend, Vishnu took the form of Kurma to try to save Earth. He offered his back as the foundation for the mountain that the gods used to stir the "ocean of milk," thereby creating an elixir that the gods consumed to ensure their immortality. This incarnation symbolizes the phase of evolution when life left the water and developed lungs that could breathe air.

In yoga, kurmasana is a seated asana in which the body folds at the waist and the arms slip under the legs.

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