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  • Writer's pictureN Rohit

Kurmasana: Tortoise pose a symbol for longevity and steadfastness

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

The Word Kurma in Sanskrit means Tortoise. This pose is dedicated to one of incarnation ( Avatar ) from Dashavatara of Lord Vishnu. The legend according to hindu mythology is that Devathas powers were diminished by a curse of a sage called durvasa who was known to be hot tempered.

The devathas had to recover the elixir of immortality known as Amritha from the depths of cosmic ocean to regain their powers . The devathas entered into alliance with Asuras ( Demons ) and jointly undertook to churn the cosmic ocean.

Mount mandara ( Mountain ) was used as a churning stick and the serpent Vasuki as rope. The Asuras Demanded to hold the serpents head while the devathas upon advice from lord Vishnu held the serpents tail. The mountain began to sink once it was placed in ocean and lord Vishnu took an avatar as Kurma ( tortoise ) and came to the rescue for joint efforts devathas and asuras by carrying the mountain on its back.

From the churned ocean appeared a various treasure and amritha which finally devatha were able to consume and asuras ( Demons ) were poisoned due to fumes emitted by Vasuki during the process of churning.

Level : Advanced.

Duration : 30 seconds to one minute.

Stretches : Spine, Legs and shoulders.

Caution : Practice only when your master the preparatory poses mentioned below.

Preparatory Poses for Kurmasana:

1. Bhujapidasana.

2. Paschimottanasana.

3. Janu sirasana.

4. Upavistha Konasana.

5. Baddha konasana.

How to do Kurmasana:

1. Sit on the mat with legs outstretched straight in front.

2. Widen the legs and bend the knees and lift them up by moving it closer to trunk.

3. Exhale and bend forward and insert your hands underneath your knees and keep it sliding sideways straight till the back of your knees come in contact with shoulders.

4. Extend the legs further and try to bring the shoulders then forehead and finally your chin on the floor.

5. Stay in this pose from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Benefits of Kurmasana:

1. Asthamatics are known to get relief from congestion by practice of this pose.

2. This pose lengthens the back muscles to remove the stiffness which is a reason for ache or injuries.

3. The abdominal organs are activated and functions properly.

4. Regular practice helps in healing insomnia.

5. Tones the leg muscles and arms.

6. Kurmasana ( tortoise pose ) practice helps you to prepare to do suptha kurmasana ( Sleeping tortoise pose ) which takes to the state of Prathyahara and thereby controls the signs of mental illness like anxiety, fear, sadness, mood swing.


1. Beginners must avoid doing this pose and first master the preparatory pose and only then attempt.

2. Do not try this pose when you are recovering from injuries of spine or any other limbs involved.

3. Always warm up adequately before practicing any asana.

The practice of kurmasana is challenging hence one should not be tempted by jerk and forceful movement while doing. Diligent and consistent practice with awareness is all needed to accomplish this pose.

Do your practice and all is coming.”

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