Monday, October 26, 2009
My Pose For The Month - Boat Pose (Navasana)
I have chosen Boat Pose (Navasana) for my pose for the month of October. Navasana may look like an easy pose but being able to balance on your sitting bones with your legs straight in the air requires a lot of core strength. As such, Navasana is a good pose to build core strength as it strengthens the abdominal muscles. The full boat pose works the abs, the hip flexors (inner thighs) and the back.
The benefits of Navasana include:
• Strengthens abdominal muscles to provide efficient support for abdominal organs
• Lengthens and strengthens the spine to prevent backache
• Strengthens and tones the abs and hip flexors
• Helps relieve anxiety, stress and tension
• Helps improve digestion and counteracts constipation
How to do the pose
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands on the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet. Lift your chest to elongate your spine and press your weight into your hands. Your weight will balance on your sitting bones.
Exhale, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, angling your thighs 45-50 degrees off of the floor. Lengthen your tailbone into the floor and pull your navel in slightly. If you are feeling strong, slowly straighten your knees, raising your toes above eye-level.
Reach your fingertips toward your ankles, feet parallel to each other and the floor. Press your shoulder blades inwards and downwards to your spine while reaching through the fingers. You may also hold onto your thighs above the knee for support.
While the lower belly should be activated, it must remain relaxed. Keep the bellybutton moving inwards. Breathe gently and completely. Elongate your neck by tilting your chin slightly towards your chest.
Remain in this pose for several breathes. Sit upright with an inhalation.
In Half Boat, your knees will remain parallel to the mat, bent at 90 degrees.
You may use a strap around the soles of your feet with your knees bent, gripping it firmly in your hands. With an inhalation, lift through the chest and mid-back and as you exhale, lift and straighten your legs. Press the balls of the feet firmly against the strap.
Points to note
While practicing Navasana, you have to keep your back flat and your spine should be held erect. It should be kept in mind that your lower back should not be rounded and your chest should not droop. The knees should be bent in a position such that the shins became parallel to the floor. Tip your chin a little toward your sternum so that the base of your skull lifts a little away from the back of your neck.
For beginners, this pose becomes easier if only one leg is straightened at one time. If you separate the legs while forming a V-shape with the body, it will help in stretching the inner thigh muscles.
Check out the video below for the proper alignment in the Boat Pose.
Navasana Yoga Posture (Boat Pose) - Click here for the funniest movie of the week