Kurmasana Yoga Pose Anatomy

(Kurmasana Yoga) ‘Kurmasana’, also called as the Tortoise Pose or the Pancake stretch, is a move in Yoga in the practitioner lays on his belly, the legs get abducted maximally and the arms get under the legs. This is considered as an advanced Yoga pose requiring flexibility of hip adductors and extensors.

‘Kurmasana’, also called as the Tortoise Pose or the Pancake stretch, is a move in Yoga in the practitioner lays on his belly, the legs get abducted maximally and the arms get under the legs. This is considered as an advanced Yoga pose requiring flexibility of hip adductors and extensors.

Kurmasana has many benefits attributed to it, from toning of the internal organs to calming the nervous system. It is also a gateway to other more advanced Yoga poses and hand balances. Outside Yoga, other group of professionals can also benefit from it, for example Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can use it to increase the flexibility of their limbs so that it helps them when looking for various chokes and submission moves from the bottom guard. It also helps them to move the limbs around the opponent’s limbs from difficult positions. Besides the Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, other martial artists, breakdancers, gymnasts and pole dancers can get benefitted from Kurmasana once they master it.

A basic knowledge of the muscles involved in Kurmasana is important before you get into practicing it. So, let’s start with the anatomy behind Kurmasana.

Muscles Lengthening

Gluteus Maximus (more with narrower straddle):

Kurmasana Yoga

When the legs will be less abducted, Gluteus Maximus, which is an extensor of the hip, will be stretched because the leg will flexed at hip joint.

Piriformis (more with narrower straddle):

Kurmasana Yoga

Just like Gluteus Maximus, Piriformis is also an extensor of the hip and so, it will be stretched with narrower straddle.

Pectineus:

Pectineus

Pectineus is an adductor of the leg, which will be stretched during Kurmasana as the legs need to be abducted in this pose.

Inner Hamstrings (with wider straddle):

Inner Hamstrings

When the straddle will be wider, the Medial Hamstrings (Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus) will be lengthened as they are extensors of the leg at hip joint.

Outer Hamstrings (with narrower straddle):

Outer Hamstrings

The Lateral Hamstring (Biceps Femoris) that is also an extensor of the hip joint, will be stretched more during narrower straddle.

Spinal Extensors:

Kurmasana Yoga

During Kurmasana, the body is positioned such way that the trunk is flexed forward and thus stretching the Spinal Extensors.

Muscles Contracting

Gluteus Maximus:

Kurmasana Yoga

Gluteus Maximus assists in abduction of the leg and that’s why a very key muscle to achieve the Kurmasana pose that requires abduction to the maximum.

Gluteus Medius:

This muscle is also a prime abductor of the leg at hip joint. It will contract during the execution of Kurmasana.

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Gluteus Minimus Kurmasana Yoga:

Another abductor of the leg whose contraction will assist in getting into abducted position.

Piriformis Kurmsana Yoga:

Piriformis is also an abductor of the leg and along with other abductors, it will contract too.

Tensor Fascia Lata Kurmasana Yoga:

A relatively weak abductor of the leg but still contributes to the final positioning during Kurmasana.

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