Learning Yoga: Boat Pose

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There’s nothing like yoga at 4:30 a.m. to loosen your limbs and energize your mind, getting you ready to face the day ahead. One of the poses I’ve been trying to accomplish lately is Paripurna Navasana, or full boat pose. Paripurna mean “full, entire, complete,” and nava means “boat,” according to Yoga Journal. With its call for extended arms and legs, boat pose reminds me of the pilates “hundred” exercise—-only harder! As part of my ongoing yoga series, I’ll walk you through it using the photos below as a guide.

Boat Pose To begin, sit with your legs stretched out in front of you, your back straight, and your arms pressed down into the ground at your sides. Flex your feet so that your toes are pointing upright and pushing back toward your body. Slowly lean back, remembering to keep your shoulders straight and your chest pushed out, feeling the stretch in your abdomen as you lengthen your torso. Lift the arms so that the fingertips are pointing straight ahead. Hold this pose for a few seconds, getting used to the stretch.

20140713_083213 Once you’re comfortable, bend your knees and lift your legs off the floor, so that your calves run parallel to your arms Spread your shoulder blades and try not to round your back. Remember that “while the lower belly should be firm, it shouldn’t get hard and thick. Try to keep the lower belly relatively flat,” according to Yoga Journal. Though this pose is great for working out your abs, it also helps stretch out your hip hip flexors and your spine, and it is supposed to help stimulate the thyroid and relieve stress.

20140713_083318From there, stretch out your legs so that your thighs are about 45 degrees from the floor. Try to keep your legs extended as straight as possible and your toes pointed. Some variations of the pose call for keeping your arms raised in front of you; others, like the one I’m trying to achieve in the picture above, require you to clasp your hands behind your head to lend some extra support to your neck. Full disclosure: I only held this pose for about a minute before toppling over, so if you feel yourself wobbling or you have trouble keeping your body straight and strong, remember that we’re in this together. Slowly, but surely, we will improve.

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4 thoughts on “Learning Yoga: Boat Pose

  1. Chris, I’m taking yoga classes Monday and Thursday, but not 4:30 a.m. My gosh, how do you know if you are getting up early or staying up late 🙂 My classes are at 1:00 p.m. 🙂

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