Navasana Boat Pose

Navasana (literally "Boat Pose" in Sanskrit) is a very powerful pose for gaining abdominal strength, as well as for developing balance and poise. The following are directions for practicing Boat Pose in two variations: Full Boat Pose and Modified Boat Pose. Try to do Full Boat Pose. If this pose is too challenging for you, then try Modified Boat Pose. As you develop strength and stamina, continue on to Full Boat Pose.

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Fig. 13.6a: Full Boat Pose
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Fig. 13.5: Standing Abdominal Lift

Fig. 13.5: Standing Abdominal Lift

Fig. 13.6b: Modified Boat Pose

To perform Full Boat Pose (paripurna navasana—paripurna means "full"), begin by sitting on the floor on a comfortable padded surface with your legs bent and the soles of your feet planted on the floor in front of you, as in Seated Cat Stretch. Exhale and lift your legs off the ground. Extend them out straight in front of you and lift them as high as you can, pointing the toes. Extend your lower legs as you straighten them from the knees and point your toes up toward the ceiling. Extend your arms and hands straight out in front of you so that they are parallel to the floor. Balance as fully and securely as possible on your sit-bones and see if you can form a V, with your sit-bones forming the bottom fulcrum point of the V (see Fig. 13.6a). Breathe naturally and rhythmically for several rounds. When you are ready to release from the pose, lower your legs and your back to the ground.

If Full Boat Pose is too challenging for you or you would simply like to vary your practice, try Modified Boat Pose. Sit on a comfortable padded surface on the floor. Your legs are bent and the soles of your feet are planted flat on the ground in front of you as in preparation for Full Boat Pose. Exhale and lift your legs off the ground. Your legs remain bent at the knees as you do so. Extend your legs so that the lower legs (shins and calves) are parallel to the ground. The tips of your toes should be at about the level of your sternum. Raise your arms and hands straight in front of you, parallel to the ground and outside of your legs (see Fig. 13.6b). Hold this pose as you breathe naturally for several rounds. When you are ready to release from this pose, lower your legs to the ground.

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