Tortoise Pose


What is Tortoise Pose?

Tortoise pose, or kurmasana in Sanskrit, is a very challenging bind. There are several variations of the pose; in the final variation the legs are crossed above the head. BKS Iyengar notes in Light on Yoga that "this pose is sacred to a yogi" because of its ability to calm the mind and release negative emotions.


  • From a seated position, stretch the legs into a V shape.
  • Exhale and bend forward. Slip the upper arms underneath the thighs one at a time. Bring the head and chest toward the floor.
  • Breathe here for a moment.
  • Bend the knees slightly. Lift the chest to interlace the hands behind the back.
  • Move the feet toward the head and cross one over the other. Exhale and insert the head in between the feet.
  • Breathe while holding the pose.
  • Exhale and carefully release.


  • Avoid if there is neck or back injury.

Benefits of Tortoise Pose

  • Improves flexibility in the legs, hips and back 
  • Increases spinal elasticity
  • Activates digestion
  • Soothes the nerves and refreshes the mind
  • Releases fear and anger, brings calmness

Tortoise Pose Details
Sanskrit Name: Kurmasana
Pronunciation: KOOR-MAH-sah-nah
Pose Level: Advanced
Drishti: Bhrumadhye (Third Eye)
Pose Type: Binds, Forward Bends, Hip Openers

Share This:

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
Go back to top