21. Half Tortoise Pose
Like the last pose, some find this effortless and enjoy Half Tortoise as a relaxing pose. If you experience tightness in the lower back or hips, it may take a while for you to relax in this pose.
Start in a kneeling position, sitting on the heels with the feet and knees together. This kneeing position alone can be difficult, be patient and the ankles and knees will start to cooperate.
Raise the arms up overhead and bring the palms together, thumbs crossed. Keep the spine straight and the arms straight throughout the pose.
Inhale stretch up, and exhale slowly bend forward in a straight line from the tailbone to the fingertips. Stretch forward all the way until the forehead touches the floor and the sides of the hands reach the floor.
Engage the arms and straighten the elbow so much that the wrists, elbows and triceps lift off the floor, and keep sliding the fingertips forward.
To create a deep spine stretch, simultaneously reach the buttocks back to the heels. Keep using the abdominal muscles and eventually the buttocks will touch the heels throughout the pose.
With the arms stretching forward and the hips reaching back into the heels, bring the chin forward and away from the chest. Relax the shoulders and breath, and enjoy the deep stretch along the back.
Hold for 20 seconds.
Come out of the pose the same way you worked into the pose – slowly, with the hips reaching back to the heels and the spine and arms straight.
To prevent the spine from rounding and buckling as you move in and out of the pose, remember to use the abdominal muscles.
- Helps the body and mind to relax
- Stretches the spine and gluts
- Stretches lower lungs
- Helps with indigestion
- Mild inversion with the head below the heart, increasing the circulation of blood to the brain
- Strengthens the abdomen
- Tones the thighs
- Stretches the hips
- Improves the flexibility of the scapula, deltoids, triceps and latissimus dorsi muscles
- With the forehead on the floor it stimulates the pituitary gland, which helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.