Perform the Half Tortoise pose in your yoga practice.
Half Tortoise pose -- Ardha Kurmasana -- is one of 26 postures practiced in Bikram yoga. It's relaxing, yet energizing, and can be integrated into any yoga style or practice. Half Tortoise pose is similar to Child's pose, which is taught in two different ways. One way is exactly the same as Half Tortoise pose, while in the variation, you place your arms alongside your torso with palms up instead of reaching your arms forward.
How to Perform the Pose
To perform Half Tortoise pose, raise your arms above your head with your biceps near your ears and your palms facing inward and touching. Inhale deeply. On your exhale, activate your core muscles and slowly lower your torso to the floor while bending at the waist. Keep your spine straight and stretch your arms as far forward as possible. Rest your buttocks on your heels while your forehead and pinkie fingers rest on the floor. Keep your neck relaxed. Expand your rib cage with every breath to control deep, slow and even breathing. Stay in the pose for 20 seconds. Come out of the pose by using your core muscles to lift your torso away from the floor while keeping your spine straight. Lower your arms.
The Half Tortoise pose relieves tense necks and shoulders while stretching the back, shoulders and rib cage. The abdominal area is massaged and the core muscles are activated while coming in and out of this asana. The spine is lengthened and hips open and stretch during this pose. Elongating your spine and stretching your arms forward produces space in your rib cage to allow for full expansion of the lungs. This improve breathing and opens up the respiratory system.
According to Bikram's Yoga College of India, the Half Tortoise pose provides a variety of health benefits, including helping you live longer. Perform the Half Tortoise pose to aid with indigestion, flatulence and constipation. The pose improves blood flow the brain, which boosts mental clarity and increases your memory. People suffering from asthma may also benefit from this posture as it stretches the lower part of the lungs to improve breathing, Bikram claims.
Tips and Warnings
The Half Tortoise pose can be practiced at any time. If practicing yoga at home, this is an effective pose to practice at the beginning and end of your yoga session. It is especially beneficial to perform this pose after a stressful day to help reduce your anxiety. If you are not able to touch your forehead to the ground at first, regular practice of this pose will increase your flexibility. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.