How to do Navasana (Boat Pose)

Navasana is an important core strengthening pose. It gets its name because your body mimicks the shape of a boat when you’re in the pose.

Before we look at how to do the pose, let’s look at the benefits and contraindications of the pose.

Benefits of boat pose

Navasana is a general core strengthening pose. Here are a few of its benefits….

  • Strengthens the abdominals
  • Strengthens deep hip flexors
  • Tones the spinal muscles
  • Improves balance
  • Stimulates digestion

Contraindications for boat pose

Though this is a strengthening pose, it’s not everyone should do it. Here are the contraindications.

  • Hip injuries
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure

You should also avoid this pose if you are pregnant.

How to do boat pose

Start by coming to a comfortable seated position. Bend your knees up in front of you, so the soles of your feet are on the floor.

Lift up through the spine and find the space between your sitting bones and your tailbone. This will be the space you will balance on when you’re in the pose. If you’re balancing on your tailbone, you’re too far back. If you’re on your sitting bones, you’re too far forward. You’re looking for the space in between.

Draw your low belly in and tone the pelvic floor. Create a sensation of lift through your spine. If you feel a lot of strain in your core muscles sitting in this position and activating your pelvic floor, this might be as far as you should go into the pose for now. You’ll need to develop more strength before you try to get further into the pose. If you feel good here, then you’re ready to move forward.

If you’re ready for the next step, come up onto your toes and place your hands under your thighs just above your knees.

Lean back a little bit to bring your toes off the ground. Lift your feet, so they are even with your knees. Now let go of your legs and straighten your arms, so you’re reaching them forward. This is the second version of boat pose. If you are comfortable with this, you are ready to move on to the next version.

To get into the full expression of the pose, start by sitting with your knees bent and your feet on the floor again. Now lean back slightly to bring your feet off the floor. Instead of lifting your feet even with your bent knees, straighten your legs. This requires hamstring flexibility as well as strength.

Pull the heads of the femurs into the sockets. Stay lifted through the pelvis. Don’t round the back. Keep your core strong. Send the center of the chest up and forward.

This pose is all about stamina and strength. It’s natural to shake, that just means your muscles are working.

To find out more about Navasana, watch this video from Kino.