Garbha Pindasana

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Garbha Pindasana, variant with hands in prayer position

Garbha Pindasana (Sanskrit: ङर्भ Pइण्डआसन, IAST: Garbha Piṇḍāsana), Embryo in Womb Pose,[1][2] sometimes shortened to Garbhasana,[3][4][5] is a seated balancing asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise.

The pose is identical to Uttana Kurmasana, the inverted tortoise pose, except that the body is on the back in that pose instead of balancing upright.

Etymology and origins[edit]

Garbhasana in the Bahr al-Hayat, c. 1602
Uttana Kurmasana from the 19th century Sritattvanidhi, identical to Garbha Pindasana but reclining, hands grasping the ears
Drawing of a foetus in womb by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1511

The name comes from the Sanskrit words garbha meaning "womb"; piṇḍa, meaning "embryo" or "foetus"; and āsana (आसन) meaning "posture" or "seat".[6]

The pose is described in the 17th century Bahr al-Hayāt.[7]

The limb positions of Garbha Pindasana are identical to those in Uttana Kurmasana, which is illustrated in the 19th century Sritattvanidhi.[8]


The legs are crossed in Padmasana; practitioners who cannot easily keep the feet in Padmasana may cross the legs in Sukhasana. The arms are threaded through behind the knees, and the hands then reach up to grasp the ears. The body is then balanced on the coccyx (the tailbone).[1][9]

In Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the pose is in the primary series.[2]


Variant arm position

The arm position may be varied.[10] Another form is the reclining Supta Garbhasana.[11]


Twentieth century advocates of some schools of yoga, such as B. K. S. Iyengar, made claims for the effects of yoga on specific organs, without adducing any evidence.[12][13] Iyengar claimed that this pose makes the blood circulate well around the abdominal organs, which are "contracted completely", keeping them "in trim".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Iyengar 1979, pp. 141-142.
  2. ^ a b "Primary Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: yoga chikitsa (cikitsa) | Garbha Pindasana". Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  3. ^ Aggarwal, Dholan Dass (1 January 1989). Yogasana & Sadhana. Pustak Mahal. p. 72. ISBN 978-81-223-0092-5.
  4. ^ Hewitt, James (3 January 1990). Complete Yoga Book. Schocken Books. p. 307.
  5. ^ Stearn, Jess (1965). Yoga, youth, and reincarnation. Doubleday. p. 350.
  6. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1 June 1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  7. ^ Mallinson, James (9 December 2011). "A Response to Mark Singleton's Yoga Body by JamesMallinson". Retrieved 4 January 2019. revised from American Academy of Religions conference, San Francisco, 19 November 2011.
  8. ^ Sjoman 1999, pp. 81, Plate 15 (pose 85).
  9. ^ Keleher, Neil (17 December 2018). "Ashtanga Yoga Poses, Seated Poses Part 1". Sensational Yoga Poses. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Garbha Pindasana | The Embryo". Yoga in Daily Life. 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Supta-Garhbasana". OMGYAN. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ Newcombe 2019, pp. 203-227, Chapter "Yoga as Therapy".
  13. ^ Jain 2015, pp. 82–83.
  14. ^ Iyengar 1979, p. 142.


Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979) [1966]. Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Unwin Paperbacks. ISBN 978-1855381667.
Jain, Andrea (2015). Selling Yoga : from Counterculture to Pop culture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-939024-3. OCLC 878953765.
Newcombe, Suzanne (2019). Yoga in Britain: Stretching Spirituality and Educating Yogis. Bristol, England: Equinox Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78179-661-0.
Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.