Kurmasana Steps, And Benefits

Kurmasana is a sitting forward bending pose practiced in Hatha Yoga [1]Wikipedia.org and Ashtanga Yoga in which you maintain a pose like a Turtle/a Tortoise.

Tortoise, what comes to your mind when you hear this word? Slow crawling animal? Or something else?

You must have heard that tortoise/turtles hide in the shell whenever they feel threatened. Tortoises/turtles hide to protect themselves from the outer surrounding.

That’s the same you do in Kurmasana.

This pose helps you to draw out the distraction of the outer world and focus on your inner self. This process is known as Pratyahara or Withdrawl of Senses. [2]verywellfit.com Kurmasana provides the delighted feeling of the inner world. [3]stylecraze.com

Let’s get deep into this topic. 

English Name and Meaning of Kurmasana

Kurmasana has Sanskrit origin

Kurma means Turtle/Tortoise

Asana means Pose

Hence Turtle or Tortoise pose in English. It is an intermediate-advanced level yoga posture mainly practiced in Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.

Modern Kurmasana is mentioned in B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga was written in 1966 [4]Wikipedia.org. This pose is dedicated to God Vishnu’s embodiment Kurma. 

This pose helps to lengthen the spine, stretches thighs and hamstrings, and calms the mind and body. [5]yogajournal.com

How to do Kurmasana?

turtle pose
  • Sit straight with legs stretched out straight in front of you
  • Hands rest on the side, flex your feet and press your thighs into the ground
  • Spread your legs to the side wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Now bend your knees a bit and create a gap of around 2 inches
  • Place your hands in front of you
  • Bend your torso forward and slide your arms to the side through the gap between knees and ground
  • Palm facing downward
  • Extend your upper body further and open up the shoulders
  • Push through the thighs, apply pressure on the shoulders and keep extending until your chin touch the ground
  • Inner thighs should be in touch with your side ribs
  • Strengthen the legs, so that they are no more bent, and keep the feet flexed
  • Stretched out your hands to the side as much as you can
  • Now, relax. Let your thoughts shift from outer word to inner self, leave all the thoughts, pressure, and tension behind and take slow and deep breaths
  • Hold the pose for 30seconds
  • To leave the pose, bend your knees, lift your upper body, and rest your hands to the side and sit. 
  • Repeat the same few times.

This pose provides relaxation not only to the body but to the mind too. If you are feeling exhausted or had a stressful day at work, do Kurmasana it will make you feel good.

Benefits of Kurmasana

kurmasana benefits
  • Improves digestion, helpful in constipation, and beneficial for problems like flatulence
  • It stretches shoulders and chest
  • Cure for insomnia
  • Solves back-related problems [6]sarvyoga.com
  • Increases the blood flow to the brain, thus helps in increasing the memory
  • Helpful for Asthma patient
  • Provide stretch to the thighs and hamstring and lengthens the spine
  • It improves posture and opens up the shoulders
  • It helps to improve the functioning of abdominal organs 
  • Gives relief to the mind and body
  • Uplift the mood, reduces stress, and cure mild depression
  • It improves the respiratory system

Precautions and Contraindications

  • Do light stretching of legs and back before doing this pose
  • Avoid doing this pose if you are pregnant, refrain from this pose even if you are menstruating
  • In case you are feeling pain in your shoulders, slightly move your hands to the front from the side
  • Don’t do this pose if you have an injury in the back, knees, and shoulders
  • Avoid in case of arthritis
  • Know your limitations, don’t push too hard to be in the pose
  • As it is an intermediate-advanced level yoga pose, do it under the supervision of an expert

Tips for Beginners

Place a blanket under the heels because it might be difficult for you to keep the heels off the floor

As I have already mentioned, don’t forget to do some light stretching 


Uttana Kurmasana/ Inverted Tortoise Pose

uttana kumrasana
  • Sit in Padmasana. Bend the left knee and place the left foot on the right thighs with the soul of the foot facing upward.
  • Similarly, do it with the other leg. Place your right foot on the left thigh
  • Breathe out and push your arms in the gap between the thighs and calves
  • Bend your elbows from there and place your hands on the chin
  • Rollback down on the floor and rest your back on the floor
  • Relax and draw out your attention from the outer to the inner world
  • Take slow and deep breaths

Ardha Kurmasana/ Half Tortoise Pose

Ardha Kurmasana
  • This pose starts with the kneeling pose “Vajrasana”. Sit on your heels with feet together.
  • Raise your arms over your head, then bring your palm together, and then cross the thumbs
  • Breathe in and stretch your body up
  • With an exhalation, bend your body forward until your forehead touches the floor
  • Now keep sliding your hands forward to ensure that your elbows, wrist, and upper arm are off the floor
  • Gently increase the stretch, move your hips towards the heels, and move your chin forward away from the chest
  • Then relax, and take slow and deep breaths
  • Hold the pose for few breaths
  • To leave the pose, bring back your hips to start position, reduce the stretch and raise your body to the start position

Supta Kurmasana/ Sleeping Tortoise Pose

supta kurmasana
  • First, you need to maintain the Kurmasana 
  • Then bring your legs close to the head
  • Bring your hands behind and your back and clasp both the hands
  • Afterward, inhale, lift your leg over your head and cross both of the legs
  • Take slow and deep breaths
  • Hold the pose for few breaths
  • To release, lower your legs and hands and then rise with an inhale [7]workoutlabs.com


Kurmasana is yogasana that is used for meditation. This pose helps to draw out attention from outer surrounding to the inner self. This pose has a lot of mental and physcial benefits. If you are having a rough day try Kurmasana it will make you feel better.


This article provides general information only. It would be better if you consult an expert. It is not a substitute for an expert at all.

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