Half Tortoise is largely a relaxation posture. It is said to enhance longevity by slowing the breathing.
- tones and strengthens muscles of the legs
- increases blood flow to the brain
- releases tension from shoulders and neck
- increases flexibility of shoulder muscles
Start sitting kneeling style (Vajrasana), hips on the heels, sitting upright. Raise the arms overhead and clasp the palms together in prayer position with thumbs crossed (Namaskar). Keeping the hips down, bend forward from the hips bringing the forehead and little fingers to rest on the floor. Try to keep the hips on the heels. Stretch the arms as far forward as possible but then relax the shoulders and let your head rest on the floor.
Some of the benefits in this pose 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 muscles 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 palms firmly together throughout the posture. 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.
- knees can be separated
- heels can turn out
- arms six inches apart, palms flat on the floor
- for bad knees: start upright on knees and use hands on floor to walk forward into the posture
- for frozen shoulder: may be done with arms by sides (Child’s Pose)
- gastrointestinal distress
- leg pain
- pancreas malfunction