Boat Pose (Navasana)

परिपूर्णनावासन

Paripurna Navasana = Full Boat Pose; Nava = boat

Navasana is a foundation for many fitness exercises for abdominal muscles’ strength. Well-known crunches, leg scissors, and leg lifts are only a few variations of this yoga pose.

How to Get Into It

  1. Start sitting with your feet on the floor and palms – under your shoulders. Alternatively, put palms in line with the knees. You can also touch the ground with your fingertips on both sides of your legs.
  2. Lift your bent legs so that ankles are parallel with the floor (Half boat pose). You can straighten your legs to create a V-shape with the belly after your core strength increases (Full boat pose).
  3. As you lift your legs, your spine will try to round. Here engage your abs to pull the torso closer to your legs (both in Half and full boat poses)
  4. Pull your shoulder blades away from your ears and push your chest forward, opening it and keeping the back straight. Lift your hands in front of you, parallel to the mat, palms facing each other.
  5. Try your best to balance on your sit bones. But keep in mind that there should be no pain or discomfort in the tailbone. If you feel any of that – consult with the health care practitioner.
  6. Relax your face and throat; look in front of you. Hold for several breath cycles.

Benefits

  • Boat pose improves core strength, including rectus abdominis area(belly), mid and lower back
  • This asana builds strength in hip flexors
  • It helps release gas and enhances digestion
  • It also makes your posture super healthy and correct

Modifications

Beginners: If you are a novice, start practicing the Half boat pose with bent knees. Also, this variation works well if you have tight hamstrings.

Pro: Challenge yourself with side crunches while you keep your legs straight. But remember, this is not a regular fitness crunch; still maintain the body alignment described above.

Precautions

Not recommended to practice if you are pregnant, have diarrhea, or have had recent abdominal surgery. Should be practiced with caution during the period (depending on your feeling of comfort).

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes here is keeping the straight legs while the back is rounded. Due to weak abdominal muscles, it may be hard to tense and lengthen abs in this pose. To make it right, focus on your abs as the center of this asana: press your upper body to the legs and push your heart forward to open the chest. Squeezing shoulder blades together can also help keep the spine in a straight position.

Another mistake is holding your breath during this pose. So keep an eye on making regular inhalations and exhalations; nevertheless, it may feel tough if you’re a beginner.

Some students find it’s hard to balance in the sit bones. For more stability, you can place your slightly bent hands behind the back, fingers facing the legs with palms underneath your shoulders. Alternatively, grab your knees.

About

Stephanie started her yoga journey back in 2018 in an Ashtanga class. She likes to experiment and try new challenging postures and yoga tricks. When off the mat, sharing yoga lifehacks is another thing to do. She believes that energy settled in a safe and physically correct form can make you feel better not only in your body but deep inside your soul too.