Ardha Kurmasana is a type of restorative asana that forms a part of Bikram Yoga. It is also known as Half Tortoise Pose. The asana is known to provide complete relaxation for the whole body.
Start performing Ardha Kurmasana in kneeling position. Sit on your heels with the knees and feet together.
As you do so, keep your spine straight while maintaining the arms perfectly straight throughout this pose.
As you exhale, slowly and gradually bend your body forward. Make sure to maintain your body in straight line from your fingertips to the tailbone.
Stretch forward your body until your forehead gently touches the floor. The sides of your hands should reach the floor.
Now engage your arms and slowly straighten your elbow as you ensure that the elbows, wrists and triceps are lifted off the floor. Keep sliding your fingertips forward as you do so.
Reach the buttocks simultaneously back to your heels for creating deep spine stretch. Use your abdominal muscles for this and eventually your buttocks will be able to touch your heels throughout this pose.
As you stretch your arms forward and have your hips reach towards the heels, bring your chin slightly forward and away from your chest.
Once you do so, relax your shoulders and a take a deep breath; enjoy this deep stretch that you perform along the back.
Next, come out of this pose in the same way that you initially worked into this pose, i.e. gently with your hips gradually reaching back to your heels while you keep your arms and spine straight.
Here are the preparatory poses that you must perform before doing Ardha Kurmasana.
As a beginning, you may find this asana particularly difficult. Do not try in any way to overstrain or overexert your muscles as you perform this posture. Gently breathe in and breathe out as you would do under normal circumstances as you perform this asana. Do not perform this Asana if you have any shoulders, arm or hip injury. You should also consult a doctor as well as a yoga expert prior to starting this asana. Never go beyond your normal capabilities for performing this asana.
Ardha Kurmasana helps to stimulate and improve the functioning of pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus and the lungs. This means that it not only helps in regulating the breathing process but then it also balances the rhythm of breathing with that of the vibrations of pituitary gland, pineal gland and hypothalamus. This helps in improving the health of the overall body. It also regulates proper functioning of the hormones that manage numerous vital processes within the body.
This asana can increase blood circulation to the facial muscles, thus prevent and remove signs of early aging
The asana helps in stretching and strengthening shoulders, scapula, deltoids, trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, hips, abdomen and quadriceps.
This yoga should never be practiced by any pregnant woman or people suffering from any kind of preexisting medical conditions.
It should never be practiced after heavy meals or under the effects of sedatives, drugs and alcohol.
So now that you are familiar with Ardha Kurmasana, include it in your daily yoga regime for better physical health.