Navasana or Boat Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Naukasana, Ardha Navasana,
Sanskrit
नावासन / Nāvāsana
Pronunciation
nah-VAH-suh-nuh
Meaning
nava: “boat”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Navasana (nah-VAH-suh-nuh) is a balancing pose that strengthens the abdominal muscles, back and hip flexors and tones the digestive organs. It also gives strength and flexibility to the hip joints and legs.

Yoga is a great way for people of all ages and fitness levels to get some exercise in. A recent study found that based on injury rates per 1000 practice hours, yoga seems just as safe or safer than other types of exercises like running, etc.

Muscle Focus

Navasana or Boat Pose works on several muscles such as

  • Quads
  • Core (Abdominal Muscles)
  • Back (Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi)
  • Glutes
  • Shoulders

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps to tone the core muscles, making you look better.
  • Helps to activate quadriceps muscles.
  • Helps to relieve knee-related issues.

Benefits of Navasana or Boat Pose

1. It Helps to Strengthen Core Muscles

While lying on your back, contract the abdominal muscles and lift the head, chest, and legs off the mat. Use your breath to help you maintain balance in the pose.

2. Activates Quadriceps Muscles

Boat Pose is an excellent pose to activate quadriceps muscles as well as the hamstrings.

3. Practicing this Regularly Can Prevent Back Pain

The asana helps to strengthen the back and core muscles, which can help prevent back pain. However, if you already have back pain then make sure to practice it carefully.

4. It Helps Improve Digestion and Metabolism

Navasana massages the abdominal organs, helping to improve digestion and metabolism. This pose also helps to stimulate the digestive fire, known as Agni in Sanskrit.

5. It Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Deep breathing in Navasana calms the mind and reduces stress and anxiety. It is a great pose to do before bedtime or after a long day at work.

6. It Boosts your Self-Confidence

Navasana requires focus and concentration. The act of balancing in this pose can help boost your self-confidence.

7. It Helps in Menstruation as Well

The asana is known to help in regulating the menstrual cycle and hormonal imbalance. It also helps to stimulate the thyroid gland and tone the kidneys.

8. Activates Neck Muscles and the Thyroid Glands

The asana helps to activate neck muscles and the thyroid glands, which are responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism. However, make sure to tuck your chin in.

9. Stimulate Kidneys

The asana also stimulates the kidneys, which are responsible for filtering blood and removing toxins from the body.

Contraindications

Avoid this pose if you have any chronic lower back or abdominal conditions. Women who are menstruating and who are pregnant should not do this pose. The abdominal region should not take any load during a menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Elderly people can do this asana with their feet on the wall or on a chair as a variation. Do not hold the pose for more than 20 seconds for elderly and fragile people. People with long tail bones will have difficulty doing this pose, instead, use a strap around the upper back and the feet to keep the back lifted. Or you can keep the palms in cup shape by the sides of the hips to maintain balance.

Variations

  • Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
  • Parivrtta Navasana (The Revolved Boat Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
  • Ardha Halasana (Half Plow Pose)
  • Uttanpadasana (Raised Leg Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you are new to yoga, start with one repetition and gradually work up to three repetitions as you build strength in your core muscles. Remember to keep your back straight and engage your abdominal muscles throughout the pose.
  • If you have any neck pain, make sure to tuck your chin in and keep your head level.
  • If you find it difficult to balance, start by keeping your feet on the floor and gradually lift them off as you build strength.
  • If you find the pose too challenging, try a simpler version such as Half Boat Pose.

How to do Navasana or Boat Pose

  • Start by sitting on the mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and place your hands on the floor behind you.
  • As you exhale, lift your feet off the floor and bring your knees toward your chest. Keep your back straight and engage your abdominal muscles.
  • If you find this posture simple, you may also add balance to the pose by lifting your arms next to your legs.
  • Continue to breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. To release, slowly lower your feet to the floor and sit up straight. Repeat two to three times.

Mental Benefits of Navasana or Boat Pose

  • Calms the mind
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Balances mind and body.

Bottom Line

The Boat Pose is a great way to strengthen your core muscles, improve digestion and metabolism, and reduce stress and anxiety. It is also known to help regulate the menstrual cycle and stimulate the thyroid gland. It is a great pose to do before bedtime or after a long day at work. If you are new to yoga, start with one repetition and gradually work up to three repetitions as you build strength in your core muscles. Remember to keep your back straight and engage your abdominal muscles.

1 sources
  1. https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-019-2612-7
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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