Good Living

Your Body – Boat Pose – Navasana

We are suggesting some selected Yog Asanas to rejuvenate your body. Next in the series is:

• Tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles;
• Improves balance and digestion;
• Stretches your hamstrings;
• Strengthens your spine and hip flexors;
• Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines;
• Aids in stress relief;
• Improves confidence.

Sit on your yoga mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Be sure you have left at least a foot or two of space behind you. Balance your weight between your sitting bones and your tailbone. Press your hands on the floor just behind your hips, leaning slightly back. Flex your feet toward your body. Lift your sternum, and don’t round your back. Bend your knees while exhaling. Lift your legs so that your thighs are at about a 45 degree angle to the floor. Lean back so that your torso, too, is at about a 45 degree angle to the floor. The angle between your torso and your legs will be about 90 degrees. Straighten your legs slowly, taking the bend out of the knees to the degree that is possible for you. Stretch your arms along your legs, parallel to the floor. Reach out through your fingers. If you can’t do this, hold on to your thighs or rest your hands lightly on the floor by your hips. Keep your lower belly flat and firm rather than hard. Keep your shoulders in a neutral, retracted position. Don’t hunch your shoulders, but think about moving your shoulder blades back and down.

Remain in the pose, breathing steadily, for between ten seconds and one minute. Don’t strain yourself by trying to stay in the pose for too long; stop before you are unable to maintain good form. Try staying in the pose for 1-2 full breaths at first, slowly working up to ten breaths.

Come out of the pose with control. Lower your legs slowly to the ground and return to a sitting position. Use your hands on the floor for extra support. Keep your knees bent with your shins parallel to the floor. This is known as “Half Boat Pose,” and makes your abdominal, hip, and thigh muscles do somewhat less work. Keep your back straight, just as in Full Boat Pose.

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