Tortoise Yoga Pose

Tortoise Yoga Pose is a seated, forward bend pose that targets the hamstrings and shoulders and is ideal for yogis and yoginis at an advanced level.

muladhara – the root chakra
svadisthana – the sacral chakra
related poses
How To Do Tortoise Yoga Pose
  1. Begin by entering Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana), spine long and buttocks comfortably resting on the floor. You may need to use your hands to place your legs and buttocks in the proper position, making it more comfortable to move deep into the pose.
  2. Bend your knees and bring the heels in closer to eachother. Your knees should be at about the same level as your chest, toes pointing slightly away from the body.
  3. Bring both arms between the legs, then take your shoulders underneath the knees one at a time. Keep your heels firm against the mat and place your hands on the back of your ankles, pushing against them slightly to help lower your shoulders fully under the knees.
  4. Extend the arms directly out to the sides, pressing your arms and chest down toward the floor. Keep your spine straight and your shoulders spread against your back. Keeping your knees hugged in toward your shoulders, begin straightening your legs out as you slowly walk your heels forward.
  5. As you fully extend the legs, push out on the inner edges of your feet. Using your knees, push your shoulders down into the mat while simultaneously pushing up into the knees with your shoulders.
  6. Extend through the backs of the legs until they are straightened completely, heels lifting slightly off of the ground. Keep your knees squeezed in toward the shoulders.
  7. Hold this pose for a few breaths, chin resting on the floor. To come out, bend your elbows and begin walking your heels toward you until you can bring your arms out. Rest in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) for several breaths.
  • Breathe deeply through each step.
  • This is an advanced yoga pose. Do not attempt if you are a beginner, or if you have tightness in the hamstrings or shoulders.
  • Do not perform if you have back, shoulder or knee injury.
  • If you have a history of lower back injuries, consult a yoga instructor or medical professional before attempting this pose.

If you feel a tightness in your hips or lower back, sit on a folded towel or blanket.
If you ever begin to feel trapped or claustrophobic, pause and take a few deep breaths before furthering the pose. You may need to give the pose a few tries before you are able to fully pin your arms to the floor, which can make you feel anxious starting out.

Stretches & Strengthens

All Muscles: Hamstrings, shoulders, calves, hip flexors, lower back

Target Muscles: Hamstrings, shoulders

Health Benefits of Tortoise Yoga Pose
  • Stimulates inner abdominal organs.
  • Opens the hips and shoulders.
  • Stretches and strengthens back and spine.
  • Can alleviate stress and anxiety.

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Sanskrit Name & Meaning



kurma: turtle
asana: posture

History & Mythology

History & Mythology

There’s gotta be some history or mythology on this pose! We’ve looked high and low and have only come up with this message. Perhaps you have some information or resource for us to explore?