What is Navasana?

Also called the Boat Position in English, in the asana the body resembles a boat when it arcs in a V shape while resting on the hips. The word Navasana comprises Sanskrit words ‘nava’, which refers to the boat, and ‘asana’, which means posture. 

By strengthening your core and thighs, Navasana improves balance and enhances posture. It enhances the energy level and the ability to focus and overall body awareness. To learn more about Navasana and its benefits, refer to the main article.

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22 Dec 2021
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Introduction

Yoga is a popular form of exercise since it helps the body relax and helps the mind unwind. There presently exist several different forms of yoga that target different areas of the body. This article seeks to help explain the benefits associated with practising one particular yoga pose which is Navasana.

What is Navasana?

The term Navasana - or “Boat Pose”, as it is called in English - is a yoga asana that focuses on developing core strength as it requires the practitioner to hold his/her body up such that it resembles the letter “V”. It is derived from the Sanskrit terms “nava” and “asana” which mean “boat” and “posture'' respectively.

Types of Navasana

There exist several variations of the traditional Navasana yoga boat pose. They include the following.

  • Ardha Navasana

Here, the practitioner incorporates a half boat pose by bending his/her knees.

  • Paripurna Navasana

This is a full boat pose that requires the practitioner to keep his/ her arms extended such that they lie parallel to the floor.

  • Eka Pada Navasana

Here, the practitioner is required to perform this pose with one leg bent and the other extended out such that it lies ahead of his/ her body.

Benefits of Navasana

Those who practice Navasana on a regular basis benefit from the following.

  • Strengthens Muscles

Since Navasana yoga requires the practitioner to create a V shape with his/ her body, they must utilise their abdominal muscles. As a result, this posture helps strengthen abdominal muscles and helps tone the leg muscles.

  • Alleviates Pain

People experiencing pain because of a hernia find relief by practising this yoga position.

  • Enhances Digestion

Yoga practitioners who practice the Navasana pose with regularity benefit from improved digestion.

  • Helps Open Your Chakras

This yoga pose is believed to open the body’s manipura chakra (or navel centre). This chakra is linked to the power of transformation. When this chakra is opened, it helps enhance your self-esteem, confidence, and vitality. An additional chakra that this yoga pose helps open is the Svadhisthana (or sacral) chakra which is linked to productivity, creativity, and perseverance.

How to Practice Navasana?

If you have no previous experience with this yoga posture, the steps provided below should help you understand how it is performed.

 

Step 1. This yoga position begins with the practitioner sitting down with his knees bent and his feet resting flat on the floor.

 

Step 2. The practitioner then begins to lift his feet off the floor. Initially, he will bend his knees until his shins are parallel to the floor. At this point in time, the practitioner’s body will resemble the half boat pose.

 

Step 3. The practitioner will now find that his torso naturally falls backwards. During this time, it is important that the practitioner does not let his spine take on a curved shape.

 

Step 4. The practitioner must straighten his legs such that they are at a 45-degree angle. Ideally, this should be done without losing the positioning of the upper body. The aim is to keep the torso as upright as possible such that it is able to form a V shape with the legs.

 

Step 5. Next, the practitioner must roll his shoulders back and straighten his arms such that they lie parallel to the floor. His palms must be turned upward.

 

Step 6. Now, the practitioner must try to balance himself while trying to hold onto this position. The practitioner should focus on lifting his chest as it helps them to stay balanced.

 

Step 7. This position must ideally be maintained for at least five breaths.

 

Step 8. Finally, the practitioner can release his legs as he exhales. When the practitioner next inhales, he can sit up.

Beginner’s Tip for Navasana

If a beginner finds it hard to practice Navasana, they can always hold the backs of their thighs with their hands to keep their spine straight.

Practitioners must focus their attention on keeping their lower belly and back muscles engaged. Their chest must remain open such that their shoulders don’t round in and their upper back remains straight.

How Often Should I Do Navasana?

Those attempting to practice Navasana must initially hold this pose for 10 to 20 seconds. Once they gain more experience, they can gradually increase the time they hold this pose to one minute. Navasana can be practised 3 to 4 times a day, but the practitioner should make sure they don’t overdo this yoga pose.

Precautions to Take to Perform Navasana

Prior to practising Navasana, it is important for practitioners to take into account the following considerations.

 

  • If you have a headache don’t attempt to try out this yoga pose.

  • People with low blood pressure and asthma are advised against practising Navasana.

  • If you have a weak tummy and are experiencing diarrhoea don’t attempt to practice this yoga pose.

  • Pregnant ladies must abstain from practising Navasana.

  • Navasana must be practised on an empty stomach.

Conclusion

Navasana brings with it several benefits and practitioners who practice this yoga pose on a frequent basis do so in a bid to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, regardless of how cautious one maybe, emergencies can arise at any point in time. It is therefore recommended that you invest in a viable health insurance plan such that you are financially protected in the event that you fall ill or have an accident. The Finserv MARKETS website is a great resource that provides information pertaining to good health insurance plans.

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FAQs on Navasana

  • ✔️How long should you aim to hold the Navasana pose as a beginner?

    As a beginner, you should aim to hold the Navasana pose for 10 to 20 seconds. Once you gain more experience, you can gradually increase this time to 60 seconds. 

  • ✔️What is the English name for Navasana?

    The English name for Navasana is “Boat Pose”.

  • ✔️Can you perform Navasana right after you have had a meal?

    No, you should not perform Navasana right after you have had a meal. This asana is best performed on an empty stomach. 

  • ✔️If you can’t keep your spine straight during Navasana, what should you do?

    If you find it hard to keep your spine straight while performing Navasana, you can always hold the backs of your thighs with your hands to keep your spine straight. 

  • ✔️ Name three different variations of Navasana?

    Three different variations of Navasana have been mentioned below.

    1. Ardha Navasana or half boat pose

    2. Paripurna Navasana or full boat pose

    3. Eka Pada Navasana or one-legged boat pose