This yoga posture has been named after the shape it takes – that of a boat. Naukasana is prounced as NAUK-AAHS-uh-nuh. It tones the abdominal muscles while strengthening the low back. There are two variations: Half Boat Pose — Ardha Navasana (ARD-uh nah-VAHS-uh-nuh) — and Full Boat Pose — Paripurna Navasana (pahr-ee-POOR-nah nah-VAHS-uh-nuh) . The word “ardha” means “half,” and it refers to the bent-knee variation of the pose. This asana, if done with great dedication and practice, can be extremely empowering. The Full Boat Pose instills strength and balance in our lives, just as a steady ship moves calmly through the rough seas. The Paripurna Navasana is the full expression of the pose that requires full extension of both the arms and the legs, and the body to be in an acute, boat-like ‘V.’ This asana is often called the Naukasana.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
Do not practice Boat Pose if you are currently experiencing headaches, low blood pressure, or diarrhea. Those with heart problems and asthma should not practice the full variation of the pose, but should gradually and softly practice Half Boat Pose instead. Women who are pregnant or menstruating should also not practice Boat Pose. Those with neck injuries can practice this pose with their backs and heads supported against a wall. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
How To Do The Paripurna Navasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips. Draw your awareness inward and focus on your breath. Allow your inhalations and exhalations to be smooth, calm, and even.
2. Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
3. Draw in your low back, lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso. Then, extend your arms forward, in line with your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
4. Balance on your sit bones, keeping your spine straight. Take care not to let your lower back sag or chest collapse.
5. Lengthen the front of your torso from your pubic bone to the top of your sternum. The lower belly (the area below your navel) should be firm and somewhat flat, but not hard or thick.
6. With an exhalation, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle from the ground, bringing your body into a “V” shape.
7. Keep your breath easy, steady, and smooth. Focus your awareness within. Soften your eyes and your face. Gaze at your toes.
8. Spread your shoulder blades wide and reach out through your fingers, actively engaging your hands.
9. Stay in the pose for five breaths, gradually working up to one minute. To release the pose, exhale as you lower your legs and hands to the floor.
Practicing Boat Pose will build strength and power throughout your entire torso. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- It’s more important to keep your spine straight and the front of your torso long than it is to straighten your legs or balance without hand support. Keep your hands on the floor and knees bent until you have built up enough strength to deepen the pose while keeping proper alignment.
- The lower front of the belly should never get hard. Although it will get firm, it should not puff forward or become thick. If it does, make a modification until you have built up enough strength that it does not become hard.
Modifications & Variations
- Often it’s difficult to straighten the raised legs. Bend your knees and loop a strap around the soles of your feet, gripping it firmly in 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.
- Full Boat is often presented as an abdominal strengthener, which it is to a certain extent. But more importantly this pose strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Learn to anchor the heads of the thighs bones deep in the pelvis and lift from that anchor through the front spine. Remember that the lower front belly should never get hard.
Benefits Of Paripurna Navasana
These are some amazing benefits of the Paripurna Navasana.
- Practicing this asana makes the spine, hip flexors, and abdomen stronger.
- It helps to activate the prostate glands, kidneys, intestines, and thyroid.
- This asana serves as a great stress reliever.
- The massaging of the abdominal organs helps improve digestion. The digestive system is strengthened as well.
- This asana stabilizes you and also helps you focus better.
- Your hamstrings are stretched.
- The reproductive system is strengthened and toned.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
There are many actions and a whole lot of effort that goes into perfecting this asana. But if you find that balance, it will help you align and calm your emotions, body, and mind.