Boat Pose AKA Navasana is a fantastic pose for strengthening the abdominal and hip muscles, as well as bringing focus to body awareness and breath, says yogini Trudy Vains.
Boat Pose can be a challenging pose, however it builds core strength, balance, posture awareness and stability. Boat pose helps with everyday life, perhaps reducing aches and pains as you start listening to your body and using your core more effectively.
To Move Into Boat Pose
- Sit on your yoga mat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Sit tall with a nice straight spine.
- Engage your core, as though you were drawing your belly button towards your spine.
- Place hands on knees.
- Now slightly push your chest up and out as you draw your shoulders back and down.
- Test out your balance by bringing your big toes to the floor and slightly lean your upper body backwards. Your spine must stay straight. If it begins to curve then come back to bring feet on the floor.
- Take one foot off the floor to a 45 degree angle, and bring your hand behind your thigh.
- If balance is still good, then do the same with the other leg.
- Now both legs are at 45 degree angle, flex your feet (toes in towards your body).
- Now straighten one leg so its at a 90 degree angle, then the other.
- Either keep your hands behind your thighs or if you are all good, core engaged, breathing deeply and feel balanced on your sit bones – stretch your arms along side your legs, parallel to the floor.
- Reach out through your fingertips. Or if you really have got this, take your index fingers and wrap them around your big toes.
- Shoulders are back, chest up and spine is straight. Focus your mind on something in front of you, to help with balance.
- Stay here for three to five breaths and enjoy all that Boat Pose brings with it.
To exit the pose
- Engage your core and sit a little taller. Keep hands behind thighs, as you bend knees to 45 degree angle, Bring one foot to the floor, then the other.
- Counter pose is very important in yoga, so come onto hands and knees and find your comfort in Child’s pose, the counter pose to Boat Pose.
Variations in this pose
- Use a yoga step if you can’t quite straighten your legs. Wrap it around the balls of your feet to help with alignment.
- A straight, engaged spine and core are more important than the depth of the pose. Ensure your chest is up and shoulders back.
- If stability is an issue, stay with knees bent and feet on the floor. Practice by bringing big toes onto the mat and leaning back slightly. Its all about practice and not perfection.
Variations for arms
- Hands can be behind you, on the floor while you work core, back and legs.
- Hands can also be in hips.
- ts all about how you feel on the day.
Benefits of Boat Pose
- Strengthens your core
- Posture awareness
- Works hamstrings and inner thigh
- Aids in digestion
- Improves focus and breath
- Relieves stress
- Brings stability
Yoga brings so much more to the table, its not just about the pose, its about confidence, patience, belief and practice. Breathing exercises in this pose is just as important as any pose, check in with your breath, is it fast? Is it slow? Don’t make any judgement about it, but make sure you are comfortable and at ease.
Have fun practising and be ok with what your body can give you today.