Tortoise Pose

INTEMEDIATE - Tortoise Pose

KURMASANA

HOW TO PERFOM

This posture is an intense forward fold. The asana requires a lot of flexibility in the hips, hamstrings and shoulders so it is very important that the physical body is warm and prepared prior to this posture.

• Start in Dandasana (Staff pose). Separate the feet to the width of the hips. Bend into the knees bringing the feet towards the backs of the thighs. Aim to sit equally on both sides of the sit bones. Make sure the entire soles of both feet connect with the mat.

• Shuffle the torso forward; aim to drop the shoulders underneath the backs of the thighs. Straighten out the arms by reaching the hands towards the back of the mat.

Engage the inner thighs by hugging the legs tightly into the side body.

• Once this position is achieved, inhale whilst lifting through the chest centre. Exhale; fold forward whilst aiming to straighten the legs and drawing the anterior body (chest/abdomen) closer towards the mat.

• Proceed with competence. Never exert. Listen to your body.

• Through conscious awareness of the breath the practitioner will patiently find more and more depth through this posture.

BENEFITS

• Quietens and balances the nervous system.

• Tones the spine.

• Activates the abdominal organs and is particularly helpful for problems in the lower abdomen.

• This asana shuts out sensory distractions enabling the practitioner to focus their attention inwards.  By withdrawing from the senses one should achieve ‘Pratyahara’ – the fifth limb of Ashtanga yoga.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

• Practitioners suffering from spinal/back problems should avoid this asana as it can aggravate the condition.

• Hamstring and groin injuries.