Sailing through Perfect Postures with Boat Pose!

Practice Boat Pose solo or with a friend!

Yogafurie Teachers Ed and Sinead showing how you can do boat posture with two people

Boat Pose or Navasana asks for it all. Strength, balance, flexibility, and the ability to enjoy tough moments! If your core feels like it could do with extra strength, Boat Pose is the one for you!

As with all yoga asana, Boat Pose has history and meaning behind it. The mythology behind Navasana is that Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman were wandering in the Ganges following being exiled from their kingdom. They were looking for a Tirtha, or a shallow crossing across the river. Tirthas are revered as holy places. After some negotiation with a Ferryman, they managed to get his help to cross the river. This Ferryman explained him and Rama had a similar job in life, “I carry people across the river, but you carry them along the ocean of samsara (the world of senses and illusions)”.

Boat Pose helps remind us we are on a turbulent journey every moment in our lives, keeping strength, balance, flexibility and adaptability, guided by those that are close to us, or even by our spiritual practice. It also draws attention to our feet, our link between us and the earth. In this story Rama’s feet are illustrated to be powerful and to bestow blessings and transformation.

If you’re pregnant please avoid practicing this posture.

Preparatory Poses

Sinead shows how to do a downward facing dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog (above)

Yogafurie students showing how to do a forward fold but you can also have your hands on bricks

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold (above)

Yogafurie teacher Joy shows upward salute

Urdhva Hastasana – Upward Salute (above)

Step by Step Guide

You can practice this solo or with a friend! Read on to find out how.

Step One

From sitting, draw your heels in towards your bum and hold on to the backs of your knees. Come up to your tip toes so you can take the weight through your sit bones.

With a partner: Do this facing each other and sitting close enough to hold hands.

Step Two

Lift your feet completely off the floor, firstly bringing shins parallel to the floor. If you feel steady here, release your hands from your legs and extend them in front. Lift up with your heart space to find more length in the torso.

Boat pose as demonstrated by a teacher trainee

With a partner: Take each other’s hands and place each sole of the foot against your partner’s. Then lift legs until they become horizontal. Lift the sternum to create more length in your torso.

Step Three

If you’d like to take it further, try extending the legs! It’s not an easy posture to hold with legs extended, especially if you maintain the lift in the heart space (which we recommend you do!) Stay here for up to 6 rounds of breath.

With a partner: Still try to extend the legs however do not lose contact of your hands or the soles of the feet. So only lift the legs as high as you both can manage whilst still maintaining lift in the chest! Stay here for us to 6 rounds of breath.

Ed and Sinead showing the partner straight leg version

There’s many different variations of Boat Pose to play with!

If you’re tired, or still building strength then try this variation. It has the balance and helps to build core strength. It’s also great here to get into the feeling of lifting the heart before trying more challenging variations.

This variation (below) is more of a challenging stretch and balance than it is solid core work, although you’ll still feel some work happening in the abdominals. This is also a posture known in itself as Ubhaya Padangusthasana.

Sinead showing Ubhaya Padangusthasana

Below is a short flow that you can try. Extend legs forwards and chest backwards and then draw the knees and chest together. Keep the heart lifted throughout – it’s a tough exercise! Best to avoid if you have lower back injuries.

Time to traverse your spiritual and physical path whilst practicing Boat Pose or Navasana! Book in for class and practice with us.

Ubhaya padanghustasana with the legs in boat outstretched and the hands on the feet

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