Tortoise pose is performed by folding the body at the waist and slipping the arms under the legs, which are extended with knees either bent or straight. It is recommended to stay in the pose for 30 to 40 seconds and for roughly five to 10 breaths.
This is an important posture in yoga for increasing flexibility, particularly the hips, hamstrings, shoulders and along the spine. Although not a particularly challenging posture, it can be modified for beginners through several variations in which the arms relax alongside the body or extend forward, rather than under the legs.
Tortoise pose may also be referred to by its Sanskrit name, kurmasana.