In my email newsletter yesterday I mentioned that this week I’ve been suffering with insomnia. Honestly, I don’t know why, except each time my brain has brimming with creative ideas. My brain is on overdrive, and sometimes you just have to ride the waves of creativity. In this post I want to share how to do Boat Pose, Navasana.
While my brain is on high gear my hours in the day remain the same. So I’ve been trying to film a video every time I’m in my yoga room for a virtual class, or my own practice. Enjoy this video demonstration on how to do boat pose.
As always you can view here on my website, or on YouTube. If you head to YouTube don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, and leave me a like/comment! As I mentioned, I’m creating lots more content.
How to do Boat Pose – Navasana
While classified as a seated pose, it also has a balance challenge. And, lots of core strength if done in a way to target the abdominals. So, begin in a seated position with the knees bent, feet hip distance apart. I prefer to teach this with the hands under the thighs to begin.
Draw the navel to the spine, allowing a slight tuck of the tailbone. From the hip, lean the torso back lengthening the arms a little. Feel the feet get light. Tip back enough that the feet want to counterbalance the torso and lift away from the floor. Keep the knees bent.
The torso and thighs should form a “V”. This is supposed to represent the bottom of a boat. You have options here to keep the knees bent, or extend the legs for a more challenging variation.
If you extend the legs, the toes should approximately be at eye level. Harder still you can reach the arms forward. Of course there are MANY variations on boat pose but these are the main progressions.
Key Points for navasana
- Sit slightly back on your pelvis, tailbone ever so slightly tucked
- Draw the navel into the spine
- Use padding under your tush if you need to!
- Hold onto thighs, knees bent
- Intermediate – lengthen legs
- Advanced – long legs, and reach arms
Ow, my bum!
The most common thing I hear in this pose is “my bum hurts!”. Well, some of us got more junk in our trunk than others. If you feel you need some cush for the tush, then get a folded blanket!
Honestly, I use a blanket in every yoga practice. While a hard floor is beneficial in balance poses like Warrior 3, it can be a little too firm for the sit bones in Boat Pose.
Should I arch my back?
The second most common question I get is “where should my back be?”. Well, that depends on what you want to work. Want more hip flexor and quad? Arch your back a little. If you want more core/abs then you need that slight tuck of the tailbone and the back to have a bias to flatten/rounding. Think about curling the pubic bone to the chin. This can be shown and experienced more easily in dandasana.
In the images above and below, on the left my back is arched. This causes one half of my boat to bow. Belly comes forward. And it’s harder to balance in boat this way! On the right my spine is still long, but my abdominal muscles are working to stabilize!
One is not right or wrong, they just serve different purposes. There is never a right or wrong, it all depends on what you want to work. And what YOU are working with in your body. However, the bottom line is for the abs to engage fully tuck the public bone up to the navel a little.
- Do you practice boat pose? Do you like it?
- What variation of boat pose is your favorite?
- Would you like more explanations “behind the pose”
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
Oh my, you are so good with those poses. I could never make my body cooperate and get into that pose. If and when I decide to try yoga again, I will refer to your blog for tips. I have it bookmarked in my “health and wellness” folder already.
That’s awesome! Remember I have videos on YouTube also!
that is an interesting pose! I would need that blanket under me though, lol. Blessings!
Same! I hate it without the blanket!
I can usually do the boat pose at my yoga class. Thanks for the detailed steps on how to do this pose.
Awesome! You’re welcome!
wow, that looks like a challenging pose, a lot of practice and dedication to achieve it
It is a challenging pose for sure!
This is one of the few poses I ca do. It’s good to see that I am doing it correctly. Good to know back arching is optional.
It’s optional, but not really optimal 😉
It’s always interesting when I have to find my center of balance while holding my legs up. But I will have to definitely try this out.
New post with ways to work towards this!
Charlotte Petit Noble
Such a challenging pose. All about strength and balance. I was so happy when I finally place my body the right way. It felt really rewarding. I still have days though when it seems like my body can’t process the pose. Your post is really helpful.
Every time we get on the mat it’s a whole new practice!
You can definitely make a difficult pose look so easy! I love the way that you give instructions. I think I’d love to be in your classes.
I have videos! And I teach 3 online classes a week!
This is so useful, thank you for sharing! I have to admit I find boat really hard, I crunched my back a little while ago and have found anything that requires core engagement much more difficult. I’ve been working on building strength back up, but it’s taking awhile!
Work slowly. I did a post today about progressions, but I’d start with making sure you have good core stability first
this is kinda hard, I’m doing this sometimes for my abs, but I don’t hast that long. I need to have a good balance and endurance I guess to be able to lift my legs that long.
I just put up a new post on exercises working towards lifting and straightening the legs.