photo from Bikram Yoga Charleston
When it comes time to do Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha-Kurmasana) in the Bikram series, it's easy to feel like it's time to relax as you've finished the standing and floor series, and you can sense the end approaching. But it's important to remember that this posture is not like Child's Pose in other forms of yoga. Half Tortoise is an active pose. Getting into and out of this posture effectively and easily relies on solid core strength. A key to being able to be actively engage your core as opposed to using back strength, is to keep your spine straight.
Some Tips for Keeping Your Spine Straight:
- Chin away from the chest to keep your spine straight and long – focus on the floor in front of your mat as you come down. If you are in the front row, you should focus on yourself in the mirror as you come down.
- Resist the urge to draw your chin into your chest when you are performing the stretch. Try to keep your chin as away from your chest as possible while maintaining contact between the forehead and the yoga mat.
- When coming out of Half Tortoise Pose, use your core muscles to lift your torso away from the floor while keeping your spine straight.
- Keep your head and neck straight (as opposed to tucking your chin to your chest). If your head is down and the neck is rounded, the energy will be transferred to your back instead of your core.