Asana of the Month: Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

On a purely physical level Kurmasana opens the hips and stretches the legs, back, and shoulders, and tones the abdominal organs. It is also said that this posture draws the focus of the mind inward and promotes surrender, inner security, and tranquility. As B.K.S. Iyengar notes in Light on Yoga,”[t}th mind becomes calm and composed and one develops equanimity, whether in sorrow or joy. It will gradually become free from anxiety amid pains and indifferent among pleasures, while the emotions of passion, fear and anger will loosen their hold upon the mind.”

Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose):

Benefits (according to Light on Yoga):

  • Tones and strengthens the spine
  • Stretches the insides and backs of the legs
  • Activates the abdominal organs
  • Soothes the nerves of the brain


  • Shoulder, low back or hamstring injuries

Preparatory Poses:

  • Baddha Konasana
  • Upavhista Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
  • Pasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
  • Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Yertle the Turtle

One thought on “Asana of the Month: Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

  1. Kelly

    October 2, 2011 at 4:13pm

    Well done, Melissa, thank you!

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