Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose): How to Do it, Benefits & Contraindication

Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

Kurmasana, also known as Turtle Pose, is a yoga asana that involves sitting with the legs extended and bringing the torso forward, aiming to eventually wrap the arms around the legs.

The pose resembles a turtle withdrawing into its shell, promoting flexibility and strength in the hips, thighs, and spine.

It is said that this asana strengthens the nervous system. It just requires the flexibility to bend the waist forward, and hold yourself in that position when the waist bends forward. The legs remain spread in front and the hands are tied behind. Due to this, the back takes the shape of a tortoise’s shell and the entire shape appears like a tortoise.

Keeping both the heels under both the testicles and sitting with the body, head and neck straight is called Kurmasana. Kurma means tortoise. If we look at the body of the turtle, only arms and legs will be visible emerging from its shell. Similarly, in this asana the shape of the body is made to resemble the shape of a turtle. Bring the heels in the opposite direction. Place them under the scrotum. Head, neck and torso should remain in a straight line. This is Kurmasana.

This asana prepares spiritual seekers for the fifth stage of yoga practice, Pratyahara. Kurma symbolically represents the state of withdrawal. It is said in Bhagavad Gita – When the yogi withdraws his senses from all the objects of the senses in the same way as a tortoise withdraws his limbs, then that yogi The intellect becomes stable.

How to do Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

♦ Sit with your legs extended in front.

♦ Keep your feet as far apart as possible. Keeping the heels in contact with the ground, bend the knees slightly.

♦ Lean forward and place your hands below your knees, palms facing upwards or downwards.

♦ Lean forward and slowly slide the arms under the feet. If necessary, you can bend the knees a little more.

♦ Take the hands from below the knees so far back that the elbows come near the back of the knees.

♦ Do not allow tension in the back muscles.

♦ Try to straighten the legs as much as possible by slowly sliding the heels forward. Due to this the body will automatically bend forward.

♦ While being aware of breathing and relaxation, slowly bend the body forward until the forehead or chin touches the ground between the legs.

♦ Do not apply any kind of force. Fold the arms and tie them together below the buttocks.

♦ This is the final state. Make the whole body relaxed.

♦ Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Stay in this final position as long as you can comfortably.

♦ Return to starting position. And practice its opposite asana, then rest in Shavasana.


Keep concentrating on relaxing the spine, back muscles, stomach and breathing. The center of perception is Swadhisthana or Manipura Chakra.


Before and after this, practice any back bending asana, like Bhujangasana, Matsyasana, or Supta Vajrasana. Purna Dhanurasana is the exact opposite of Kurmasana.


Exhale while bending forward. Breathe normally in the final position.


Stayed in final position for about 3 minutes. One can stay longer for spiritual benefits.

Benefits of Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

♦ Kurmasana makes all the organs of the stomach healthy and is helpful in the treatment of diseases like diabetes and constipation.

♦ It relieves headache and neck pain and soothes the nerves and increases blood circulation in the spine.

♦ If you remain in this exercise for some time while meditating on normal breathing, then this is a very good asana to concentrate the mind.

♦ It is practiced to calm mental excitement, to make the mind introvert and to make the spine flexible.

♦ By practicing this asana, the feeling of self-control, inner security and dedication is awakened and the effects of happiness and sorrow are eliminated.

♦ Lust and fear reduce and the body and mind get energized.

♦ gives more benefits in stomach diseases and obesity.

♦ People who feel cold and produce more gas will benefit from practicing this.

♦ This asana is very useful in awakening Kundalini.

♦ Purifies the mind and makes the senses introverted.

♦ By doing Kurmasana, a person remains safe from knee pain.

♦ Hair fall stops.

♦ The pain in muscles and joints is soothed.

Physiological effects of Kurmasana

Kurmasana, or tortoise pose, offers various physical benefits. This pose stretches and opens the hips, thighs and waist, promoting flexibility in these areas. Kurmasana involves a forward bend, which helps stretch the spine and improve flexibility.

Turtle pose with arms wrapped around the legs provides a deep stretch to the shoulders and chest, increasing flexibility and relieving tension. Regular practice of Kurmasana can contribute to better posture by strengthening the spinal muscles and promoting awareness of body alignment.

The forward bend in Kurmasana applies pressure to the abdomen, massaging and stimulating the internal organs, which can aid digestion and improve organ function. This pose encourages blood flow to the abdominal area, helping with better circulation and potentially reducing stiffness in the lower back.

The meditative aspect of Turtle Pose, combined with controlled breathing, can have a calming effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Kurmasana contraindications

People suffering from slipped disc, sciatica, hernia or chronic arthritis should not practice this asana. It should be practiced only if the spine is flexible enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kurmasana a hip opener?

Yes, Kurmasana, or Tortoise Pose, is considered a hip-opening yoga pose. This posture involves a forward bend with the legs extended and the torso brought forward and down, which can help stretch and open the hips.

What are the limitation of Kurmasana?

Avoid Kurmasana while pregnancy, menstrual period, hip joint injury and back pain.

How can I improve my Kurmasana?

To enhance your Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose), focus on flexibility and strength. Regularly practice hip-opening stretches like pigeon pose and work on hamstring flexibility.

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