In Sanskrit “Koorma” means “Tortoise”, “Asana” means “Posture”. The English name is “Tortoise pose”.
This asana prepares the spiritual aspirant for the fifth stage of yogic practice, pratyahara, sense withdrawal, which is symbolized by the tortoise. Koormasana is dedicated to Koorma, the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, maintainer of the universe.
Position : Sitting
Type : Forward bending
Spiritual Awareness : Swadisthan and manipura chakras.
Physical Awareness : Relaxing the spine, back muscles. Effect on hips, spine, abdomen, hands, and legs.
Dosha Suitability : Kapha
Introducery Asanas : Bhujangasana, Matsyasana or Supta vajrasana
- Sit on the ground with the legs outstretched.
- Separate the feet as wide apart as possible.
- Bend the knees slightly, keeping the heels in contact with the floor.
- Exhale, lean forward from the hips and place the hands under the knees, palms facing either up or down.
- Lean further forward and slowly slide the arms under the legs.
- The knees may be bent more if necessary.
- Slide the arms sideways and backward until the elbows lie near the back of the knees.
- Do not tense the back muscles.
- Slowly push the heels forward and straighten the legs as far as possible. The body will simultaneously bend further forward as leverage is applied on the hands and legs.
- Gradually, keeping the awareness on breath and relaxation, move the body forward until the forehead or chin touches the floor between the legs.
- Do not force or strain in any way.
- Fold the arms around the back and interlock the fingers of both hands under the buttocks.
- This is the final position.
- Relax the whole body, close the eyes and breathe slowly and deeply.
- Stay in the final position for as long as is comfortable. Breathe normally.
- Return to the starting position.
- Perform a counter pose and then relax in Shavasana.
- Hold the pose for up to 3 minutes and longer for spiritual purposes.
Follow-up Asanas: Poorna Dhanurasana.
Spotlight Effects: Hips, spine, abdomen, hands, and legs.
- Koormasana tones all the organs of the abdomen.
- It increases circulation in the spine, soothing the nerves.
- It induces introversion, mental relaxtion, composure, and a sense of inner security and surrender.
- Body and mind are refreshed through this practice.
- Helpful in the treatment of disorders such as diabetes, flatulence and constipation.
- Relieves headache and neck ache.
- Passion, fear, and anger subsides.
Precautions and Contraindications:
- Those suffering from slipped disc, sciatica, hernia or chronic arthritis should not perform this asana.
- It should only be attempted if the spine is sufficiently flexible.