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Boat pose

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

The metaphor 'life is a journey; not a destination' applies perfectly to yoga. Yoga is not all about getting into the pose. It's what happens each step of the way, and how it changes and evolves us serves as a beautiful anecdote.

I first started practicing and teaching this joyful Asana, NAVASANA, solely for core cultivation. Little did I know that my journey with the pose had just begun. From not being able to lift my legs and struggling to keep my chest pulled forward to sometimes falling on my back, I've traveled a couple of years with this Asana. The transition from layer one to full expression of the posture occurs when one applies the principle of 'VINYASA KRAMA,' slow and steady progression. Let me talk briefly about Nivasana or Boat pose, which is a more popular western terminology used by the practitioners. The name comes from the Sanskrit words "Nava" (meaning "boat") and "Asana" (meaning "pose").

It synchronously engages hip flexors, abdominals, and adductor muscles. Contrary to popular belief, abdominal muscles merely provide support. However, its the hip flexors that indeed do most of the production for the pose.


Contraindications - Do not practice this pose if you have a hernia, a prolapse, or a lumbar herniation. Avoid practicing if pregnant, menstruating, low blood pressure, insomnia and heart problems.

Preparatory pose - Prepare the body first with Adho Mukhasvasana ( down dog ) and Uttanasana ( forward fold ).



  1. Sit on your mat with your knees together bent in front of your chest.

  2. Rest the soles of your feet on the mat

  3. Bring your hands behind your knees and pull your chest forward.

  4. Engage your core as you shift your weight to balance on your sit bones, lifting your shins parallel to the floor.

  5. Reach your arms forward if you no longer need them to support your legs.

  6. Straighten your legs without compromise on the alignment

  7. Layer down if you feel rounding in your spine.

  8. Stay here for a few cycles of breath.

Modifications- If you have any neck injury or stiffness, sit with your back near a wall to perform this pose as you tilt your torso back, rest the back of your head on the wall. Use a strap to loop around your legs and grip it firmly with your hands. Inhale, lean the torso back, then exhale and lift and straighten your legs, adjusting the strap to keep it taut. Push the feet firmly against the strap.


Health Benefits of Navasana

A regular dedicated practice of Navasana can reap immense benefit to both the mind and body. Here are some of the ways in which Navasana can bring sustainable benefits to the yogi.

  • It harmonizes and balances root chakra, Muladhara

  • It produces prana flow throughout your body

  • It builds willpower, determination, and self-control

  • It strengthens your core abdominal muscles

  • It strengthens your hip flexors, iliopsoas, and quadriceps

  • It strengthens the adductor muscles of the inner thighs

  • It helps to prevent back problems and also to rectify existing long-term imbalances

  • It aligns the spinal column and tones and strengthens the buttocks, thighs, and legs

  • It cleanses your kidneys and facilitates fresh blood supply, thus ridding your body of toxins.


Many yogis find this pose to be short-lived in their daily practice. The trick to holding the pose for a few extra seconds is to increase the willpower and shift the focus towards longer inhales and exhales.

I hope this article sheds some insight into the pose.

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