Koormasana (Tortoise Pose)

The following two forward bending asanas are advanced asanas that require a reasonable degree of flexibility in the legs and spine.

  1. Koormasana
  2. Eka pada sirasana

Before attempting them you should master other forward bending asanas such as paschimottanasana1, janu sirshasana2 and ardha padma paschimottanasana2. They should not be attempted by beginners.

Koormasana (Tortoise Pose)

The word koorma means ‘tortoise’. This asana can thus be translated as ‘the tortoise pose’. It is so called because it resembles a tortoise in the final position; the back of the body representing the shell, and the arms and legs the four limbs. If you look at the accompanying picture you will see that this is a fair description.

The tortoise symbolizes pratyahara (sense withdrawal). The Bhagavad Gita states: “When he (the yogic aspirant) can withdraw his senses from association with the other objects like a tortoise withdraws its limbs from outside danger, then he is firmly fixed on the path towards wisdom”. (2:58) Koormasana symbolizes this state of pratyahara; moreover, it can also help to induce this state. That is, the asana can be practised to stabilize the mind and direct awareness inwards away from the external world.

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