Pratyahara, #365Yoga and Supta Kurmasana (Supine Tortoise Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Supine Tortoise Pose) registers as 14* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty.

“This pose is sacred to a yogi… In this pose the limbs are withdrawn and the body resembles a tortoise. The mind becomes calm and composed and one develops equanimity whether in sorrow or in joy. It will gradually become free from anxiety amid pains and indifferent amid pleasures, while the emotions of passion, fear and anger will loosen their hold upon the mind… This asana prepares the aspirant for the fifth stage of yogic practices, namely, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from outside objects).” – BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga

This pose couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated by the errands, plans, and responsibilities on my plate. Practicing Supta Kurmasana allows me to retreat inside the shell of my body and my breath for a few sacred moments to find calmness and peace.

If you’ve been following Nancy Adler and Sarah Kohl‘s blogs, you’ll see that they’re spearheading a #365yoga effort: an effort for everyone to commit to some yogic practice every day for 2011. To me, Supta Kurmasana is the perfect pose to do when you feel too overwhelmed to do anything at all. Withdraw from the outside world. Just for a moment, fold forward, bend your knees, and place your head down. Close your eyes. Suddenly, all of those to-dos seems very small in comparison to the glory and beauty of breath moving through your body. The quiet is palpable, soothing, and a reminder that, no matter how crazy life gets, there’s always time to take a breath, close your eyes and let go.