From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tortoise Pose (Kurmasana)

Kurmasana Sanskrit: कूर्मासन; IAST: kūrmāsana), Tortoise Pose,[1] or Turtle Pose[2] is a sitting asana in hatha yoga.

Etymology and origins[edit]

Uttana Kurmasana from the 19th century Sritattvanidhi

The name comes from the Sanskrit कूर्म Kūrma, "turtle" or "tortoise"[3] and आसन Āsana, "posture" or "seat".[4]

Uttana Kurmasana is described in the ancient Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā,[5] and illustrated in the 19th century Sritattvanidhi.[6]


To enter kūrmāsana a practitioner sits with the legs outstretched, feet as wide apart as possible. The knees are bent slightly, keeping the heels in contact with the floor. The body is leaned forward from the hips and the hands slid under the knees. The body leans forward (bending at the hips) to allow the hands and arms to slide sideways and backward (under the knees) until the elbows lie near the back of the knees. The heels are pushed forward and legs are straightened as much as possible. The forehead or chin is brought to touch the floor. The arms are further brought around the back to interlock the hands under the buttocks.[7]


Pose labelled "Kurmasana" in the 19th century Jogapradipika

Variations of Kūrmāsana include:

  • Supta Kūrmāsana (Sleeping Tortoise Pose)[8]
  • Uttana Kūrmāsana (Upside-Down Tortoise Pose)[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gray 2008, p. 59.
  2. ^ Ramaswami & Krishnamacharya 2005, p. 77.
  3. ^ "Kurmasana - AshtangaYoga.info". Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  4. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  5. ^ Mallinson, James (9 December 2011). "A Response to Mark Singleton's Yoga Body by James Mallinson". Retrieved 4 January 2019. revised from American Academy of Religions conference, San Francisco, 19 November 2011.
  6. ^ Sjoman 1999, pp. 81, Plate 15 (pose 85).
  7. ^ Saraswati 1996, p. 328.
  8. ^ "Supta Kurmasana". Ashtanga Yoga. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  9. ^ "Yoga Stretch: Uttana-Kurmasana Upside-down Tortoise". Retrieved 2011-04-11.


External links[edit]