Half Tortoise Pose

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Half Tortoise Pose Mean?

Half tortoise pose is a basic seated posture that relaxes the body and mind. It is one of the 26 asanas used in Bikram yoga, a very structured physical practice performed in a hot and humid room.

Beginning in thunderbolt pose, the arms are raised straight overhead with the fingers extended, the palms touching and the thumbs interlocked. The upper body then folds forward until the thumbs and forehead rest on the ground.

In Sanskrit, this pose is called ardha kurmasana.

Half Tortoise Pose


Yogapedia Explains Half Tortoise Pose

As a restorative asana, half tortoise pose has a range of physical and mental benefits, including:

  • Stretches the back, shoulders, neck, legs and hips
  • Improves blood flow to the brain
  • Improves respiration
  • Tones the abdominal muscles
  • Boosts mental clarity and memory
  • Improves digestion and elimination
  • Eases insomnia
  • Calms the nervous system

Yogis with knee, hip or ankle injuries should skip half tortoise pose. Child's pose can serve as a preparatory posture or an alternative for those who find the half tortoise stretch too intense.

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Try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.


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