Trying to listen to alignment cues in a yoga class and understanding the right positioning can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a complete beginner and simply trying to just keep up!

That’s why every month I will break down a pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer one or two top tips. Click here to see all of my previous poses & articles.

This week we are looking at Paripurna Navasana or literally translated ‘Full Boat Pose’.

Fantastic for strengthening the abs and working deep into the hip flexors, Paripurna Navasana also aids in balance as you negotiate stability on the tripod of your ‘sit bones’ and tailbone.  

Establishing the Foundation of the pose

  1. Sitting on the floor with knees bent, place your hands on the floor just behind your hips fingers pointing towards the feet.
     
  2. Strengthening the arms draw the navel inward, broaden across the collarbones and lift the sternum to lean back slightly balancing on the tripod of the two sitting bones and tailbone.
Boat Pose
Boat Pose

Moving Into the Pose

  1. On the exhalation, bend the knees and begin to raise the feet off the floor drawing the thighs towards the chest and keeping the shins parallel to the floor;
  2. Maintaining the lift in the spine and keeping the collarbones broad, extend the arms forward keeping the parallel to the floor, palms facing each other;
  3. Slide the shoulder blades down the back and visualise drawing both sides of the body towards the midline, hugging the thighs inwards
Paripurna Navasana
Paripurna Navasana

Maintaining the Pose

  1. Aim to ground into the sit bones while raising the sternum, engaging the core;
  2. Draw the chin slightly towards the chest to lengthen the back of the neck
  3. If you find it difficult to balance, place the hands on the floor beside your hips or hold on to the back of your thighs;
  4. Otherwise, play with possibly straightening your legs and reach the tips of your toes towards the sky;

Completing the Pose

  1. On the exhalation, gently lower the legs and return to an upright seated position

Benefits

  • Strengthens the spine, abdomen, lower back and hip flexors
  • Improves core strength and balance 
  • Promotes stress relief

Don’t do it if…

  • You have heart problems or blood pressure issues
  • You have lower back, shoulder or neck issues
  • You’re pregnant, have had recent abdominal surgery or suffer with stomach problems
  • You have a headache
Boat Pose Modification
Boat Pose Modification

Modifications

  • Place the hands on the floor or hold on to the back of your thighs if you have difficulty balancing.  
  • If you wish to try straightening the legs, try using a belt or strap around the balls of the feet.  
  • Hold the belt with both hands, lean back to raise the legs, straightening them slowly and pressing the feet against the belt.