Yoga Asanas

Ardha Kurmasana: Half Tortoise Pose

Posted on 2018-12-20

This pose is one of the 26 asanas practiced in Bikram yoga. These yoga poses are usually performed in a hot and humid room. It is a restorative asana. Ardha Kurmasana is derived from the Sanskrit Ardha meaning half, Kurmana meaning tortoise and asana meaning pose. It, therefore, translates to Half Tortoise pose in English. The Ardha Kurmasana pose is believed to activate the Manipura Chakra and it also it balances the Muladhara chakra.

Ardha Kurmasana Step by step

Step 1: Start by kneeling with your feet and your knees together. Place the palms of your hands together above your head and inhale. Your biceps should be touching your ears. 

Step 2: Lower your body torso first with your hands stretched out as far as you can before you. Lower the torso slowly with control so that you can feel yourself taking control of the spine. Your little fingers should come into contact with the floor first, and your hands should be stretched out straight. 

Step 3: Ensure that your chin stays forward so that only your forehead touches the floor. This will ensure that your head is at a lower level than your heart. Keep your buttocks on the heels, and the forehead on the ground and with your arms stretched out as far as possible, hold the position for about 30 seconds breathing deeply each time raising the ribcage. 

Step 4: To release from the asana, use the strength of your abdomen to lift your torso upwards just the way you came down. 


  • In the pose, you are supposed to keep your bum on the heels of the feet, and the forehead on the ground with the arms stretched out.
  • You might not be able to do this at first, therefore, you might keep the bum on the heels for the first rep and then let the forehead touch the ground on the other rep.
  • For big belly or pregnant keep knees wide apart.

ardha kurmasana variation with knees apart

Preparatory poses

Supta Vajrasana, Uttanasana, Garudasana, Adho Mukha svanasana, utkatasana. 

Follow up poses

Dandasana, Halasana, Sarvangasana, Ustrasana 

Benefits of Ardha Kurmasana

  • Increases the blood flow to the brain
  • Stretches the back
  • Enhances memory and brain function
  • Strengthens the shoulders
  • Stretches the shoulders
  • Stretches the hips
  • Relieves neck and shoulder pains
  • Relieves headaches and migraine problems
  • Improves digestion and alleviates constipation
  • Strengthens and tones abdominal muscles.
  • Strengthens thighs and hips
  • Stretches shoulders


Nabhi chakra drishti


The variations of the Ardha Kurmasana include the Kurmasana which is the complete tortoise pose. You can also see in other yoga styles and in yoga classes the supta Kurmasana also known as the sleeping tortoise pose, and the Uttana Kurmasana also called the upside down tortoise pose. Also, different variations with arm placement can be done to create different stretch or twist to the pose.

 Half tortoise variation


Bikram yoga, Hatha yoga

Pose type

Seated pose, stretch pose, seated forward bend.

Beginner tips

  • Ensure that the hands are touching each other and the arms are touching the ears and that you are active in the stretch throughout the pose.
  • The posture may also be done outside of the humid room just for relaxation and rejuvenation. 
  • Keep your buttocks as close to the heels of your feet as possible for the best stretch of the trunk.
  • No need for deep breathing here is where you have a relaxed breathing 

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