How to do Navasana
The below cues added by yoga teachers show multiple ways to do Navasana depending on the focus of your yoga sequence and the ability of your students.
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strap around back and back of thighs ...
From Dandasana, sit on sitting bones, bend both knees, feet together. Inhale - raise legs -- keeping knees bent at 90°, shins parallel to floor OR ... ...
we're going to move into boat pose its really important to not dump into your back keep the spine straight ...
lift through your sternum to help elongate your spine Feel heart center lift if this is difficult for you you can lower your knees "I am stable" ...
Core workout using scissor motion. ...
Variation If you want to go a little deeper. 1. Bring your arms to the side of your legs. 2. If you are comfortable here, straightened your legs wh... ...
Option 2: 5 breaths, repeat 3 times, going through lolasana after each set. ...
Start with bent knees. Straighten one leg at a time, then both. ...
Length from tail to crown and from tail to toes. Option- keep knees bent or toes on the floor. ...
Opt: Sit blanket X 3 Focus on breath ...
Straighten knees Keep back flat and chest lifted ...
*strengthens entire core *creates space in the spine BRINGS ABOUT EMOTIONAL BALANCE & CENTERING SUPPORTING US IN SAILING EASILY THROUGH LIFE'S STORM... ...
Inhale & Exhale: Raise the torso upwards expanding the body and stretching the legs out in front Inhale: Raise the legs together palms on the thighs,... ...
From seated. Sit with legs stretched out in front. Bend knees; feet flat; hands on thighs. Shift upper body back slightly. Bring shins parallel to... ...
Discover more cues, teaching ideas, and how to do steps at How to Do Navasana
There are many variations to this Boat Pose with the benefits derived being the same, but below are the benefits of the Complete Boat Pose as the first variation.
- Stretches the hamstrings and quadricep muscles: Holding this pose requires strength at the upper thigh where the quadricep muscles are put to work. The stretching of these muscles along with the hamstrings, help to get the pose it's right posture. This further brings flexibility of these muscles with repeated practice.
- Strengthens the hip: Here the hips play an important role in balancing the body. Strengthening of the hips will help to balance the body on the hip bones. The higher you lift your legs and the more vertical you take your torso, the more your hip flexors work to become strong.
- Core and Abdominal muscles become strong: While at this posture the weight of the body should be balanced at the centre which is the core. Tightening of the core or the abdominal muscles during the practice of this pose is essential. This repeated tightening of the core muscles will make them strong which becomes essential for the practice of various other advanced yoga poses.
- Stretches the entire lower body: In Paripurna Navasana the entire lower body is stretched from the hips to the tips of the toes. The adductor muscles work to keep the inner legs squeezed together. The ankles and the toes work, to give the compl...
Stating some of the precautions to be kept in mind while practicing Complete Boat Pose.
- As the abdominal muscles are put to work, anyone with a weak digestive system should take precautions while practicing this pose. The tightening of these muscles may affect the stomach and the intestines if one is already suffering from a weak digestive system. But with proper guidance and precautions this pose can be practiced at a slow level.
- The lower back is put to work here in this yoga pose, hence someone suffering from severe back issues or if someone is recovering from slip disc should avoid this pose completely.
- Someone who is suffering from High blood pressure should take precautions or guidance while practicing Boat Pose, as a lot of strain would be felt at the chest and the upper body if done wrong or if there is an alignment issue.
- During pregnancy there would be stress at the abdomen if this pose is practiced giving room for tightness at the lower back and legs, hence as a precautionary measure it is better to avoid this pose during pregnancy.
- Since a lot of pressure is felt at the core and the lower abdomen in order to maintain this balance in this pose, it is best avoided during the menstrual cycles of women.
- If there is any kind of injury at the hip, knees, ankles or neck, it is best to avoid Paripurna Navasana or Complete Boat Pose.
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- Begin the practice of Paripurna Navasana after few rounds of Surya Namaskar. This will help in circulating blood to the entire body.
- After few rounds of Sun Salutations, start by sitting on your mat completely stretched out in Dandasana. Keeping the spine straight and legs stretched out, rotate the ankles clockwise and anticlockwise about 6 times in order to open up the calves and the knees.
- Inhaling stretch the legs out completely without bending the knees, while pulling in the tummy and raising the spine upwards placing the hands on the thighs in front of you.
- Slowly taking another breath, raise both the feet from the floor to about 20 degrees and take the upper torso behind throwing the chest out in front moving the weight of the body on the sitting bones.
- Stay here for 2 breaths, maintaining the balance while the tummy, the quadriceps, the hamstrings, abdominal and the shoulder muscles are stretched and firm.
- Slowly bringing the focus to the centre, the core, raise the legs higher tightening the inner legs to engage the adductors and raise the arms from the thighs and bring them parallel to the floor.
- Maintain the balance here making sure the torso is not curved outwards and remains stretched upwards slightly inclining the torso backwards with chest thrown out in front of you.
- Draw the shoulder blades back and down to help the chest go forward giving it the complete stretch.
- Bring the focus to the core and watch the breathing here, as fast breathing will cause the body to lose it’s balance.
- The neck stays in line with the chest, keeping the chin parallel to the floor. Arms stretched out completely without bending the elbows.
- The body here takes the shape of the english letter ‘V’. One can go higher with the legs together making sure the torso remains strong and firm.
- With slow rhythmic breathing, maintain the body weight at the centre and not at the hips, and remain here for about 8 breaths or as per the comfort of one’s body.
- Slowly release from this pose by bending your knees and lowering the feet back to the floor and relax in Dandasana placing the hands on the floor behind you, bringing the lower back curved in with shoulder back and chest out to relax the spine.
- After few breaths of relaxing, one could go back to the practice of this pose, this time taking it deeper with longer slow breaths.
To make this pose simple and to enjoy this pose, one can practice this with alternative ways or through a few modifications. Some of them are highlighted below.
- If the legs are still to be worked at, one can bend the knees and slowly work at getting into the main posture with practice. Keeping the knees bent will also help in the slow strengthening of the hamstrings and the quadriceps.
- If balancing the body is not comfortable, place the hands on the floor or place the tips of the fingers on the floor besides you. Using of yoga blocks placed besides you and placing the palms on them would also act as a great support to maintain balance.
- Using of yoga straps around the feet and pulling your torso back to lean, can also work wonders to get confidence in this Boat Pose.
- Placing of blankets below your hips would support the sit bones well enough to take you deeper into the pose and this can gradually help to master the real posture without support .
- Bringing support for the upper back with the wall, will give the right body alignment for the pose and one can still gain the benefits with the practice of this support. But make sure you are not too far away from the wall and the wall is just a support and one must not put the entire body weight on the wall.
- The most important part of Paripurna Navasana is not the lower body but the torso. Expanding the torso upwards is more important than placing emphasis on stretching the legs to the maximum. Here one can use the wall support for the feet to get the maximum stretch for the torso by placing the tips of the toes on a wall while facing the wall during the practice of this pose.
Navasana Yoga Sequence Preparatory Poses
The practice of Complete Boat Pose, works more on the core muscles if the legs and the hips are comfortably strong and flexible, but for someone who needs to work on the legs and the hips, a few rounds of practice of various other yoga poses becomes essential before getting into the practice of Paripurna Navasana. Some of these are explained below.
- Surya Namaskar: Do begin the practice with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar, to warm up the body and to open up the tight muscles, which otherwise could be too tight during the practice of Paripurna Navasana. Making sure the breathing is in control with the movement of the body during the practice of Sun Salutations. Take the practice of the same for about 6 rounds (3 pairs) keeping in mind the expansion and the deep stretching. Relax after 6 rounds and come to Tadasana.
- Virabhadrasana I or Warrior Pose I: Moving from Tadasana, stand with feet apart, more than the hip distance and take a few breaths here expanding the torso upwards. Turning the left foot towards the left completely, take it to 90 degrees and bring the right foot turned inwards towards the left to about 30 degrees. Make sure the hip is adjusted while bringing in the feet at their respective angles. Facing the left foot while turning the upper body, bend the left knee, making sure the bent knee does not go beyond the toes ( they remain in line with the ankle). Maintain the balance here, and bringing the arms above you in Namaste stretched upwards with an inhalation, expand the chest and the arms deep upwards and exhale completely. Gaze upwards while you begin deep slow breathing. Stay here for about 6 breaths and watch the movement of the chest in this pose. This pose will help in expanding the upper torso and the lower body form the hips to prepare for the practice of Paripurna Navasana. Relax and release. Turning the feet towards the right continue with the stretch with the bending of the right knee and expand the arms above your head and remain in this pose with deep slow breathing. Release and relax.
- Prasarita Padottanasana or Intense Leg Stretch Pose: Releasing from Virabhadrasana I, continue standing with the feet apart and take a few breaths here expanding the upper torso upwards while pulling in the tummy. Taking the arms behind you with fingers interlocked, stretch the shoulders behind you, and as you inhale raise the torso and go forward bending at the hips while exhaling. As you exhale slowly, take the torso deep down and releasing the arms from behind, touch the floor in front of you with the crown of your head placing the palms on the floor. While doing this adjust the feet distance if required and watch for the deep stretch at the inner thighs and the hips. Once you have the body under control and in balance, begin slow deep breathing and with every exhalation, take the torso deep downwards pulling in the tummy and go for the floor with the head using the palms support. Remain here for about 6 breaths and watch for the deep stretch happening at the lower abdomen, shoulders and the chest too. This pose brings in maximum opening to the the hips and the legs expanding the muscles in all. Slowly look up first and as you inhale raise the torso controlling the body and come back to the relaxed position.
- Baddha Konasana or Bound Angle Pose: After the practice of Prasarita Padottanasana, sit down on the mat in Dandasana, and take a few breaths here. Fold the legs bending at the knees and bring the feet together in Namaste with the heels and the toes touching each other. Holding the feet with your hands raise the body upwards and sit expanding the chest out and pushing the knees downwards towards the floor. Flap the knees like that of a butterfly (also called as Titali Asana), making sure the knees fall down naturally. Watch the breath as the flapping happens and continue this for about 25 counts or as per one’s comfort. The flapping of the legs and the knees will help in the opening of the hip. Once done, relax and stretch the legs out again in Dandasana. One could repeat this practice if the hips need more opening. After the practice of Baddha Konasana go into Paripurna Navasana.
Navasana Yoga Sequence Relaxing Follow-up Poses
In the Complete Boat Pose, the core muscles along with the lower back and the legs are activated the most, hence a quick relaxing of the same is essential before the second round of practice of Paripurna Navasana. For the same, Paschimottanasana should be practiced, as this pose will help in relaxing the muscles with the forward bend and also bring in the lower back to relax completely. Remain here for about 8 breaths keeping the legs and the hips loose and not tight as one would in the actual practice of this pose.
Navasana Yoga Sequence Level Up Follow-up Poses
Take the practice of strengthening the core with making the move to a little advance level. The sequence below will help you to do the same.
- Ubhaya Padangusthasana or Both Big Toe Pose: From Paripurna Navasana, take the practice a step deeper by holding on to the toes with your fingers. As you inhale stretch the legs upwards and bring the arms stretched out in front of you and reach for the toes and completely exhale pulling the tummy in and tightening the abdominal muscles. Balance the body well bringing the entire weight of the body at the centre and make sure you are seated on the sit bones throwing the chest out completely. Pull your body upwards while maintaining the balance. Remain here for about 6 breaths if possible or more depending on the capacity of the practitioner. With every exhalation, take the stretch deeper expanding the body upwards while throwing the chest out completely. Here the art of using the core strength is most important while still maintaining the balance without bringing too much pressure to the hips and the sit bones. Release by bringing the feet down slowly bending the knees and relax in Dandasana.
- Merudandasana or Spinal Column Pose: From Both Big Toe Pose, one can immediately take the legs stretched outwards while still holding on to the toes. Inhale and expand both the legs outwards beyond the hip holding on to the toes and raise the spine upwards exhaling completely. One should still balance on the sit bones and not put too much pressure on the hips and the lower back while at the practice of this pose. Seated comfortably on the sit bones take the weight of the body to the centre of the body which is the core. The core strength is what will help you maintain the body balance. Initially the body will keep falling backwards, which is normal and to avoid this one could start with bending the knees a bit to remain seated comfortably. With repeated practice, one can slowly stretch the knees out tightening from the core to remain comfortable in the pose. Stay here for about 6 breaths or more and watch the breath, as hard breathing will bring imbalance to the body. A slow deep breathing will help you control the body better and one can enjoy the pose with a calm body and a calm mind. Release by bending the knees and bringing the legs down. Relax in Dandasana.
- Parivrtta Navasana or Revolved Boat Pose: Seated in Both Big Toe Pose, hold the toes with only your right hand interlocking both the big toes in between your right index finger and your right thumb. Inhale, and as you exhale twist towards the left side, taking the left arm stretched out behind you and bring the gaze towards the left palm. Balance the body with slow deep breathing and as the exhalation happens, take the stretch deeper backwards. Stay here for about 4 breaths and slowly release coming back to the centre. Now holding the big toes with your left index finger and the left thumb, twist towards the right stretching the right arm behind you gazing at the right palm. Stay here for about 4 breaths and release coming to the centre and slowly release the legs and come into Dandasana. This pose works on mastering the balance of the body while seated only on the sit bones without putting the entire weight on the hips though. This pose also works on giving a deep stretch to the middle back with the twist.
- Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana or Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose Pose: Here from Dandasana bend your knees and bring the feet close to you. Inhale and place the palms around the soles of the feet behind the toes and stretch the arms out completely expanding the upper body upwards with exhalation. Inhale again and placing the feet on the palms by taking the body a bit inclined backwards, raise the legs out and up, pointing the soles of the feet towards the roof or the sky. As you exhale tighten the tummy muscles and bring the face close to the knees or the legs pressing the chest towards the thighs. After complete exhalation begin slow deep breathing and maintain the balance of the body, using the core muscle strength. Remain here for about 4 breaths or for about 15 counts. Understand the body well here as holding in this pose requires a lot of focus with the breathing and relaxing the body while still in balance. This pose is the master of all balancing seated poses and the entire body is compressed giving a great stretch to the legs and the shoulders.
Most of the above yoga poses covered under the category of Next Level Follow Up Poses are more for the core strength, and to work on this, it becomes necessary to bring into practice those yoga poses which have a direct impact on the entire abdominal muscles. Hence, the practice of Seated Cat Cow Pose or Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana is a must, treating it as a warm up for the abdominal muscles. Repeatedly practicing this pose ensures the improvement of digestion and which eventually will tighten these muscles to become strong enough to practice the above covered poses.
Navasana Breath Awareness
- Inhale and Exhale: Raise the torso upwards expanding the body and stretching the legs out in front of you while seated in Dandasana.
- Inhale: Raise the legs together supporting the palms on the thighs, to about 20 degrees and bring the thighs tight together.
- Exhale: Release the hands from the thighs, stretching the arms out and exhale completely balancing the body with feet at 60 degrees.
- Inhale and Exhale: Raise the feet slowly upwards inhaling and expand the chest and shoulders completely exhaling and bring the arms stretched out at the sides. Move the hip a bit behind and bring balance with the body seated on the sit bones.
- Inhale and Exhale: Start slow deep breathing, and with every exhalation pull the tummy in and bring the chest out and shoulders behind and raise the torso upwards. Maintain the body balance with this breathing.
- Inhale and Exhale: Stay here for about 6 breaths and stretch the legs out without bending the knees.
- Inhale: Slowly release the legs bending the knees.
- Exhale: Bring the feet down and relax in Dandasana stretching the lower back by bringing it inside placing the palms on the floor behind you and throwing the head back a bit.
- Inhale and Exhale: Relax the body with slow breathing and bring the muscles to rest.
Paripurna Navasana for better core strength, can also be practiced by lying down in Savasana. Picking the body up slowly at both extremes can be a challenge and one can take this form of practice to get into The Complete Boat Pose. Here the core muscles are put to maximum stretch, which certainly will help in becoming stronger and tighter.
Navasana Yoga Sequences
Navasana Titles in English and Sanskrit
Many yoga poses have multiple titles because of differences in their Sanskrit to English title translation or a specific title becoming popular because of it's common usage amongst yoga teachers and yoga practitioners. Below are common titles of Navasana:
- Complete Boat Pose
- Paripurna Navasana