Tortoise Pose

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Tortoise Pose Mean?

Tortoise pose is performed by folding the body at the waist and slipping the arms under the legs, which are extended with knees either bent or straight. It is recommended to stay in the pose for 30 to 40 seconds and for roughly five to 10 breaths.

This is an important posture in yoga for increasing flexibility, particularly the hips, hamstrings, shoulders and along the spine. Although not a particularly challenging posture, it can be modified for beginners through several variations in which the arms relax alongside the body or extend forward, rather than under the legs.

Tortoise pose may also be referred to by its Sanskrit name, kurmasana.

Tortoise Pose


Yogapedia Explains Tortoise Pose

Some of the benefits of this pose include:

  • Enhanced flexibility in the legs, hips and back of the body
  • Improved functioning of the respiratory and digestive systems
  • Decompression of the spine and shoulders
  • Stimulation of the abdominal organs
  • Physical and mental relaxation

Tortoise pose is also believed to improve the digestive and respiratory systems as well as to decrease feelings of anger, anxiety and depression.

One gentler version of the tortoise pose is half tortoise pose, in which the body starts in thunderbolt pose, then folds from the waist with the arms extended forward, resting on the ground.

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