Kurmasana (Turtle Pose Yoga) – Steps, Variations And Health Benefits


Kurmasana is nothing but an asana in which the person takes the position of a turtle or a tortoise. Therefore, in colloquial language, the asana is also known as Koorma Asana or the tortoise pose.

In Sanskrit, the words, ‘Kurmasana’ is derived from Kurma (Turtle) and Asana (Pose). Known to be an intermediate level pose, Kurmasana may be tough to perform at the first instance. Moreover, if you are not familiar with the pose, then it can cause pain around your legs and hands. But, as you practice the asana on a regular basis, you can certainly get into the Kurmasana with ease.

What do You need to do Before Kurmasana?

Kurmasana offers optimum health benefits if it’s performed as soon as you wake up in the morning. The best time to do the asana is one and a half hours before sunrise (Brahmi Muhurta). Since your mind is calm during the time span, you can always focus on the steps and surrender yourself.

In case you are unable to wake up early in the morning, then you can practice the asana in the evening. But, later during the day, you might not be able to concentrate and may not dwell deep within you.

While you plan to practice the asana, you should take care that your stomach and bladder is empty. For feeling energetic, it’s always a good idea to eat food four to six hours before starting off the asana.

As you practice the asana, you should do it inside a clean and silent room. If it’s possible you can also perform the exercise at a garden or the backyard. But, before moving ahead, make sure you open the window panes to let in fresh air and sunlight.

Steps for Doing Kurmasana (Turtle Pose Yoga)

Step1: As you commence, you should first attain Dandasana, with your back straight and legs spread out in front of you. As you keep the legs a distance apart, make sure that the lower limbs form an angle measuring 90 degrees.

Step2: Once you have got into the pose, you need to place your arms sideways, rest your thighs on the ground, raise the chest, and take a couple of deep breaths.

Step3: Afterwards, you need to spread your legs, bend your knees and bring the thighs closer to each other. Once your legs are able to form an acute angle with the thighs, make sure that the soles rest on the ground.

Step4: Now, lift the upper body and spread your arms so that they are placed just beneath the calves. While the right arm would go under the right flexed knee, the left one should be beneath the left flexed knee.

Step5: Soon after you bend the knees, you need to bring the thighs inwards and focus more on the midline or the median plane of the body. This step would actually help to move further in, just below the lower limbs.

Step6: Once the shoulders are below the knees, you should reduce the angle between the thighs and legs and press the shoulders.

Step7: Finally, you need to bring the face as well as the chest forward and try to touch the forehead to the floor.

Step8: Moving ahead, you need to straighten your legs and feel the pressure as the inner thighs touch the side ribs.

Step9: Now, you need to ensure that you touch the chin to the ground and gaze downwards.

Step10: Try extending your arms sideways as much as possible and just under the lower limbs.

In the end, you need to relax for some time and take deep breathes.

Steps for Releasing Yourself from the Asana

Once you have held the pose for a few seconds, you need to inhale and release the arms and pull them in. As you move on, you should lift the upper limbs and bring them along the hips.

After straightening the limbs, you need to bring them closer, come back to the staff pose, and relax for a while.

Kurmasana Variations

In case it’s tough to do Kurmasana, then you must try out the variant, Ardha Kurmasana / half tortoise pose. Scroll ahead to know the steps you need to follow.

If you can’t do the turtle pose comfortably, then you could switch to Supta Kurmansana or the sleeping turtle pose.

Steps for getting into Supta Kurmasana

Once you have attained Kurmasana, you need to gain additional support by placing arms on the back. Later, you need to bring your feet closer and try touching the soles as you would do with the palms.

In order to release yourself from the pose, you first have to release your arms followed by legs. Afterward, you need to lie down on your chest, place your palms on the mat, and stretch the upper body in the upward direction.

Health Benefits of Kurmasana (Turtle Pose Yoga)

There are numerous health benefits associated with Kurmasana.

While the tortoise pose yoga exercise helps to strengthen the spine, it also relaxes the shoulders, neck, and head. Moreover, after practicing the asana for a few days, the tension would also be released from the lumbar and sacral region.

As you are in a better position to improve the posture, the shoulders are strengthened and you can get relieved from cervical disorders.

Apart from enhancing flexibility, the asana improvises the digestion process and the respiratory functions. Regular practice in the morning can relieve the person from constipation and flatulence.

The asana could be also considered for enhancing blood circulation and alleviating stress. As it helps to calm the nervous system, the individual can overcome insomnia and improve the overall functionality of the brain.

Eventually, the turtle pose rejuvenates the body and refreshes the mind as well as the soul.

Effects on Doshas

As a balance is accomplished between Prana Vata and Udana Vayu, the asana helps to improve breathing. This, in turn, serves to get rid of problems like asthma and bronchitis.

Once the asana has a positive impact on Prana Vayu, it aids to have a sound sleep and remove the stiffness from the shoulders, neck, and the head. Moreover, coordination between the subtypes of Vayu can aid to improve concentration and relax the mind.

Due to the stimulation of Pachaka Pitta and Samana Vayu, the tortoise pose improves the digestion process considerably. It also aids to reduce the severity of constipation and flatulence.

Effect on Dhatus

Kurmasana not only strengthens the muscle tissues but also relaxes the ligaments as well as the tendons. Over a period of time, the bones are also strengthened and the spine is stretched to a better extent.

On the whole, the experience is quite different when you perform Kurmasana regularly. You can always realize the potential within you and stay aloof from the world.

Impact on Chakras

Kurmasana always helps to maintain a balance between the Swadishtana Chakra and the Manipura Chakra. While the former chakra helps to control your emotions and perceive everyone equally, the latter one aids to think with a creative bent of mind.

After the Manipura Chakra is balanced properly, the digestion capacity and the metabolic activity is always enhanced. This ultimately helps to get rid of disorders associated with the entire body.

Ardha Kurmasana Procedure and Benefits

You first need to attain the hero pose by bending your lower legs and resting on your knees.

Later, you need to keep your arms along the sides and raise them gradually.

Now, you need to bring your palms together and stretch your hands as if you are trying to touch the ceiling.

You now have to lower your upper body and touch the little fingers to the floor. Make sure to keep the arms in the air and place the chin away from the chest shoulder blade.

As you hold the position for a few seconds, you need to keep on stretching and inhale air.

Finally, you need to withdraw yourself and return back the hero pose.

Now, here are some health benefits you can avail once you start practicing Ardha Kurmasana.

The half turtle pose assists in relieving the person from constipation and digestion problems.

As you would be stretching the lower part of the lungs, you would be able to enhance the lung capacity.

Ardha Kurmasana is good for treating respiratory conditions and for increasing the circulation in the brain.

The pose improves the mobility of the shoulder girdle and the associated muscles (scapula, deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi).

As the pose calms down the mind, it relieves the person from stress and migraine. The person would be able to have a sound sleep in case he is doing the asana in the evening.

12 Tips for Beginners

Tip1: It might pose to be a challenge when you are doing Kurmasana. In case you are trying the pose for the first time, then you should be under the supervision of an experienced Yoga teacher.

Tip2: In case it’s tough to place the heels on the feet, then you should always place a pillow or a folded blanket just below your legs.

Tip3: Never strain your muscles while you are getting into the pose. You should always inhale and exhale slowly just as you would do in ordinary circumstances.

Tip4: If you can’t find a pillow, then you could move your arms slightly from the sides. You should always know when to stop when you start feeling uncomfortable.

Tip5: It’s recommended that you shouldn’t perform the exercise if you have a shoulder joint injury, chronic arthritis, an arm injury, tight lower back muscles, or Sciatica.

Tip6: In case you are a woman who is going to give birth to a baby, then you should avoid getting into the turtle pose.

Tip7: If you are performing the asana during the winter season, then you should proceed with the steps carefully. In case you’re hasty, then you won’t be able to release the tension from stiff muscles.

Tip8: As you carry out the exercise, you should check that you have ample space to move around. Since you would be giving time for yourself, you should switch off the phone and don’t allow others to disturb you.

Tip9: It’s always better to drink some water before yoga because it hydrates your body. Besides, try not to drink water during the practice, as you might lose concentration while you’re breathing.

Tip10: As you practice the asana with bare feet, you should wear light and loose clothes. If it’s possible, you should always remember to remove jewelry pieces, your watch, and spectacles.

Tip11: Always start off with some warm-up exercises so that you would be able to loosen your muscles. In case you forget to do preparatory poses, then you might get injured at a later instance.

Tip12: Before proceeding with the steps one after the other, you should always remember to do the preparatory poses and follow up poses at the end.

While the Kurmasana preparatory poses include Uttansana, Paschimottasana, and Dhanurasana, Kurmasana follow up poses are nothing but Bhujansana, Matsyasana, and Chakrasana.

Finally, when you plan to do the asana, you should always think about a place. In case your house is quite small, then you should go to a garden, spread the mat, and start following the steps. Once you complete the yoga session, you need to relax with your back resting on the mat.

Don’t hesitate to speak with the doctor in case you are suffering from a heart ailment or have recently been operated at the hospital.

Hardip Koradia

Hardip Koradia is a pro health blogger with years of experience in writing resourceful articles on different health topics like alternative health, natural health, home remedies, yoga, diet, etc. His passion for health inspired him to start AyurHealthTips, a growing health blog.

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