Among the numerous benefits of Half Tortoise pose:
- Increases blood flow to the brain
- Stops headaches in their tracks!
- Relief for digestion problems like constipation
- Slows down the breath and stretches the lower part of the lungs to help improve lung capacity and respiratory condition
- Helps cure insomnia, jet lag and general fatigue
- Increasing flexibility in hips
- Strengthen and stretches shoulders
- Relieve neck and shoulder tension
- Firms abdomen and thighs
How to do:
Sit down kneel-down position with your hips on your heels. Bring your arms over your head sideways, hands-palms together and cross your thumbs. Try to keep your hips on the heels throughout the posture. Exhale breathing and go down, arms and head together. Touch your forehead on the floor, the edge of your pinkie fingers on the floor, elbows locked. Stretch your arms forward so your shoulder blades come off the spine, still trying to keep your hips on your heels. Stay for about 30 seconds and stretch, breathing calmly in and out by the nose. Inhale breathing and slowly come up with your arms and head together. Relax on your back in savasana for 20 seconds.
- You build tremendous core strength coming into and out of this posture, so be sure to pay close attention to keeping your abdominal muscles firm and arms touching with your ears.
- Do your darndest to keep your hips on the heels the whole time! This will help you use the correct muscles (hint: abs and thighs!!) to lower yourself (not your lower back!) and really stretch your spine in opposite directions.
- If you are experiencing a lower back injury and need to play it safe on forward bends, it is ok to touch your hands to the floor when you need to and "walk" yourself down into the pose using the support of your hands. Still keep your abs firm! Do your best, little by little! Once you are into the posture with your forehead on the floor, try to relax your hips onto your heels to let the lower back stretch a bit- it will probably feel really good! Then "walk" yourself up with your hands again as needed. Note that this is only a temporary adjustment. Always stay curious and carefully try doing it the regular way again soon as your back starts feeling better.
- You can do this one outside of the hot room, any time you need a restful break or a bit of energy! Next time you reach for that afternoon latte and scone? Try Ardha Kurmasana instead!