Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose, or Baddha Viparita Kurmasana (bahd-dah vip-ar-EET-ah KOOR-MAH-sah-nah) in Sanskrit, is an advanced posture and variation on plow pose. From plow, the yogi lowers the knees to the floor and binds the hands behind the back. The pose is excellent for promoting spinal flexibility.
Besides of physical benefits, it is believed to build balance, focus and concentration. Its name comes from the Sanskrit baddha, which means “bound”, viparita which means “inverted”, kurma which means “tortoise” and asana, which means “posture” or “seat.” It is so called because the shape of the body with the torso folded between the legs is considered to resemble a tortoise retreating into its shell.
Start by sitting on the floor, extending your legs forward. Ensure your spine is straight, and your arms are resting by your sides.
Bend your knees and bring your feet towards your hips. Place your hands on the floor behind your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet.
Gradually lift your hips off the floor and begin walking your hands back towards your feet, allowing your chest to approach your thighs.
Bring your feet together and rest your hands on the back of your ankles. Interlace your fingers, forming a clasp around your ankles.
Inhale deeply, elongating your spine and drawing your shoulder blades down your back. As you exhale, slowly lower your head towards the floor.
Maintain a forward gaze and continue to lengthen your spine as you gradually lower your torso towards the floor. Keep your arms extended and straight throughout the movement.
Once you reach the floor, release your grip on your ankles and place your hands on the ground. Keep your head lowered and your gaze forward.
Hold the pose for a few breaths, focusing on maintaining the length in your spine while keeping your hips and shoulders open.
To release the pose, slowly lift your head and bring your hands back to your ankles. Utilize your hands to assist in lifting your torso back up, returning to a seated position.
Benefits and Contraindications
Enhance the functioning of the digestive and respiratory system
Elongating the muscles of the back
Effective in bringing balance and in building concentration power
Tightness over the lumbar as well as sacrum area is released
Wrist or shoulder injuries
Back or neck injuries
High blood pressure
Modifications and Props for Beginners
If you find it difficult to reach your ankles, you can use a strap or a towel to help you reach them. You can also use blocks or bolsters to support your hips and head.
If you are unable to fully bring your head to the floor, you can rest it on a block or a bolster. You can also modify the pose by keeping your legs bent or placing a blanket under your knees.
Place your buttocks against the wall and lift your legs up towards the ceiling. Keep your hands on the floor and press your feet into the wall. This variation can help you improve your balance and strengthen your core.
Before attempting this pose, it is important to warm up your body with other hip-opening and shoulder-opening poses.
Focus on using your breath to deepen the pose. Inhale deeply to lengthen your spine and exhale slowly to deepen your stretch.
This pose should be done slowly and mindfully. Do not force your body into the pose, and only go as far as is comfortable for you.
If you are new to this pose, it is recommended to practice it with the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can practice Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose?
Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose is an advanced yoga pose that requires a high level of flexibility, strength, and balance. It is not recommended for beginners or those with injuries or medical conditions. It is important to consult with a qualified yoga teacher before attempting this pose.
What should I do if I can't reach my ankles in Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose?
If you can’t reach your ankles in Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose, you can use a strap or a towel to help you reach them. You can also use blocks or bolsters to support your hips and head.
Is Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose safe for everyone?
Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose is not recommended for beginners or those with injuries or medical conditions. It is important to consult with a qualified yoga teacher before attempting this pose and to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits. If you experience any pain or discomfort, release the pose immediately.
Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose With Straight Legs
Bound Inverted Tortoise Pose With One Leg Straight
A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it.
In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings.
After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva.
To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics.
Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga.
At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.