Yoga Poses

Full Boat Pose /Navasana

Steps

Sit with the knees bent, feet flat on the floor and legs together.  Allow the upper body to straighten, engaging the muscles of the upper back and abdominals.  Gently hinge the upper body back to balance on the back edge of the sitz bones.  Use the abdominals to lift the feet up off the floor.  Lift the shinbones until they are level with the floor and then extend the legs out to a 45-degree angle from the ground.

Hold the position for a few breaths, up to a minute then gently bend the knees to return the feet to the floor.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

See your body as a strong boat balancing on the back edge of the pelvis.  The torso and legs create the V of the boat as your strong arms reach out to make the sides.  Feel the strength rise form deep in the core and imagine the bones of the legs reaching through the muscles to extend out beyond the toes.

Technical Comments

Though Navasana is often considered an abdominal strengthening posture, its main anatomical focus is the hip flexors.  The hip flexors must be strong in order to lift he legs up away from the floor.  It helps to imagine the head of the femur of thighbone sliding back into the pockets of the pelvis.  From this ‘anchoring’ of the thighbones, draw the front of the hipbones towards each other, narrowing the pelvis.  The core muscles should be deeply activated.  Flatten the abdominal wall towards the spine and watch for the more superficial rectus abdominus (6 pack muscle) popping outwards. Lift the sternum up and broaden the chest, bringing the shoulder blades gently down and together.  Reach out actively through the fingertips.  Press the head back into alignment with the spine as though someone placed a pillow behind the back of the head and you gently press into it.  Relax the jaw.

Benefit Comments

  • Deep strengthening of hip flexors
  • Strengthens abdominals, back and legs
  • Good for digestion as it stimulates the intestines

Watch Out For:

  • Chin lifting
  • Collapsing in the lower back
  • Lack of core strength- rectus abdominus popping out
  • De-energized legs and arms

Contraindications

  • Use caution with lower back injury- see modifications
  • Avoid if pregnant
  • Can aggravate headaches
  • Use caution with high blood pressure, heart problems- see modifications to keep knees bent

Modifications

  • Keep the knees bent
  • Touch toes lightly to the floor
  • Use the palms on the ground in a low V behind the body to gently support the pose
  • Rest the back of the head onto a wall
  • Use a strap around the bottom of the feet and hold it with the hands to help straighten the legs

Variations

  • Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)- From Full Boat Pose interlace the fingers behind the back of the head, gently curl the tail under and roll part way down.  Lower the legs to eye level.  Take a few breaths then carefully bend the knees to bring the feet to the floor and release.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Butterfly- Baddhakonasana
  • Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Plow- Halasana
  • Standing Forward Fold - Uttanasana

Written By: Meghan Aris

Certified in several disciplines of yoga, a pilates teacher and teacher trainer, Meghan is continually widening her path of body/mind studies. At a young age she began her journey into body movement through dance. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she shifted her practice to more rehabilitative yoga. In this discipline she found not only the resources to heal her body, but also a guide to living a life full of peace and joy. She can be found teaching on any given day at Fix Health Care

Return to Yoga Pose Directory