Perfect Postures! Boat Pose and Both Big Toe Pose

Yogafurie offers a challenge in your home practice!

Both big toe pose

Very similar in appearance, and nearly similar in effort. Boat pose (sanskrit Navasana) and Both Big Toe Pose (sanskrit Ubhaya Padangusthasana) are brilliant additions to your practice to help you feel grounded, stable, strong and flexible.

They take a lot of strength in the base of the belly and in your hips to keep yourself balanced. At the same time you develop strength and flexibility in your legs, tummy and your back as you work to keep both the chest and the legs elevated and long. If at first you don’t succeed, keep working at this and watch yourself develop over time. It’s always advisable to warm up before working with challenging asana so make sure to read the preparatory poses!

Beware practicing this pose if you’re pregnant, this may be too strong a pose to practice. If you’re menstruating or have blood pressure issues, it’s good to take these poses easy.

Navasana Boat pose

Preparatory Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog

Uttanasana – Forward Fold

Parsvottanasana – Intense Side Stretch Pose

Virabhadrasana 3 – Warrior 3

Step By Step Guide

(Going first into Both Big Toe pose and then moving into Navasana)

Step One

Start in seated (after having warmed up of course) and fold your knees so that your heels come in towards your hips. Have your knees touching and reach your arms forwards to take a hold of both your big toes with middle and index fingers, closing the loop with your thumb. If you can’t reach, no worries! Use a belt or a towel to wrap around the balls of both your feet and hold on to each end so that your feet are together.

Take a few rounds of breath. As you inhale, lengthen up your spine, lift from your breastbone and draw your belly in to engage. As you exhale roll your shoulders down your back and feel your sit bones heavy to the floor.

Step Two

Lift both feet off the ground and lift your legs until your shins are parallel to the floor. Here we want to find our balance, rooted to the floor through our sit bones. And then we want to check in with our spine and shoulders. Inhale again to lengthen up through the spine and the breastbone, so that you feel you are upright without curving the spine backwards. And exhale to relax the shoulders downwards.

You can stay here if you are tight in your hamstrings or along the back line of your body. Or if you are managing any back or hamstring injuries, it might be worth also staying here for now.

Step Three

If you feel good and like your legs can lengthen further then fire up your belly muscles and start to lengthen your heels upwards. Only go so far as you can without letting your spine lose it’s good posture and round backwards. If that starts to happen then back off until you can keep your spine long.

It’s okay if your legs don’t fully lengthen here too, let them be slightly bent if there’s tightness.

Step Four

Whilst you’re here, breath deeply for 5/6 rounds of breath. Tune in to your sense of balance. Push your toes into your hands and pull back on the toes from the hands to waken up and enliven your posture.

Feel your thigh muscles switch on strongly, take your attention to the front of your hips to see if you can draw your legs and torso closer together (again without losing good posture).

Step Five

When you feel ready, keeping legs, thighs, hips, belly all switched on, let your feet go and extend your arms out at shoulder height. keep your legs and your chest raised in the air. Breathe deeply.

You are now in Navasana (Boat Pose) and although it’s similar to Ubhaya Padanghustasana (Both Big Toe Pose), you feel the muscles on the front of the thighs, at the front of the hips, in the belly and along your back are working harder to keep yourself strong and poised in this asana. Stay here for 5/6 rounds of breath.

If this proves too strong, bend your knees to come to half boat (Ardha Navasana). You can also take a hold of your thighs to help keep yourself elevated.

Step Six

To come out of this pose, slowly cross your legs as you lower them to the floor. Sit in cross legged for a few rounds of deep breath.

There you have it! Make sure to book in to class with us if you’d like to practice this with safe Teacher instructions and variations!

If you’ve been working on this pose and you’re actually quite proud, why not show it off to us! Post the picture to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in.

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