Half Tortoise Posture (21)

Half Tortoise is primarily a relaxation posture. It is said to enhance longevity by slowing the breathing.

Benefits:

  • Tones and strengthens muscles of the legs.
  • Increases blood flow to the brain.
  • Releases tension from shoulders and neck.
  • Increases flexibility of shoulder muscles.

Technique

Start in a kneeling position, legs together, hips on the heels, sitting upright. Raise the arms overhead and bring the palms together in prayer position with thumbs crossed. Keep the palms pressed firmly together throughout the posture. Try to keep the hips on the heels from start to finish. Bend forward from the hips bringing the forehead and little fingers to rest on the floor. Stretch the arms as far forward as possible but then relax the shoulders and let your head rest on the floor.

Tips

Some of the benefits in this posture come from how you move down into and back up out of the posture. Try to move as if you are hinged at the hip, keeping the back as flat as possible. This is going to take a lot of arm, shoulder, abdomen and back strength. In the beginning you will probably feel the back becoming round as you go down and up but with perseverance and persistence you will grow stronger.

Press arms firmly against the ears and squeeze the thighs together on the way down and up. Once you're all the way in the posture you can mostly relax. Maintain normal breathing.

Modifications

  • Knees can be separated.
  • Heels can turn out.
  • To accomodate shoulder pain, keep arms six inches apart and place your palms flat on the floor.
  • For bad knees: start upright, on your knees, and use your hands on the floor in front of you for support as you carefully bring your body forward into the posture.
  • For frozen shoulder you may keep your arms by sides.(Child's Pose)

Therapeutic Effects:

  • Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dysentry
  • Leg Pain
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Colitis
  • Pancreas Malfunction

Contraindications:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Cardio Vascular Problems
  • Lumbar Spondyliosis
  • Cervical Spondyliosis

Please Don't Say This

"This posture is the same as getting eight hours sleep."

That sentence is ridiculous. Remember, Bikram always spoke in hyperbole. What he meant was along the lines of, "doing this posture is as beneficial as getting eight hours sleep," which is still a gross exaggeration but not quite as ridiculous.