• 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.

    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 from 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 strenght.

    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.

  • Navasana: it’s all about balance

    Navasana gets me every time in a Led Ashtanga Yoga class. No matter how much I practice or how many extra breaths I take on my own, I always suffer when I get to this point in the practice. Since Navasana is traditionally repeated five times it gets increasingly more intense. The first round usually ignites a mild burning sensation in the core. The last round culminates in shaking, burning and emotional anguish. Each time I jump back I feel like a survivor.

    But, you probably wouldn’t see that from watching me practice. The hidden secret of the practice is that often times what looks equanimous and peaceful from the outside corresponds with a great deal of effort and grit on the inside. Knowing how to distribute your effort most efficiently means that you will be able to maintain a balanced state of mind regardless of the challenge. Finding that sweet spot in Navasana begins by changing your focus from lifting the legs to the inner work of the pelvic floor.

    The key to finding good balance in Navasana is to orient both your effort and attention to the pelvic floor. Not only do you need a strong core but you need to distribute your weight between your sitting bones in order to feel comfortable in this asana. Translated into English as the Boat Pose, in Navasana you have to focus on building a firm hull so that your ship won’t sink.

    Start off in a seated position, then bend your knees, place the soles of the feet on the floor and keep the legs together. Root the heads of your femurs into their sockets and begin activating the pelvic floor. Allow a gentle roundedness in the base of the pelvis, in the space between the sitting bones and the tailbone. Contract the anus and the pelvic muscles and draw the lower abdomen inwards. Avoid trying to balance on the tips of your sitting bones. Use a subtle rounding of the base of the pelvis to be your connection into the ground. Especially if you have a bony protrusion around your tailbone, you will find t useful to soften into a more rounded root. Next, lengthen the torso, relax the next and straighten the arms. Then, to enter Navasana, shift your chest back  just to counterbalance the weight of your legs, come up onto the tips of your toes and inhale as your lift and straight the legs. Gaze towards the toes and stay for five breaths.

    Start your 14-day Free Trial with Omstars Today!

    By Kino MacGregor

    Practice with Kino and watch the Navasana episode of Yoga Encyclopedia

    Watch Yoga Encyclopedia for more asana tips & breakdowns