Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
Ardha Navasana or the Half Boat Pose is a wonderful pose for curing many health problems. In this pose, the body attains the shape of a boat and the balance of the body is put on the hips.
‘Ardha’ in the Sanskrit language means ‘half’ and ‘Nava’ means a ‘boat, ship or vessel’. This asana resembles the shape of a boat hence this name.
It has been observed that old people during sitting down, getting up, or walking support their backs with their hands. They do it consciously or unconsciously is another matter, but it shows that their back is weak and cannot withstand the strain.
As long as the back is strong and a person needs no support, he will feel young though advanced in age. The Paripurna Navasana and Ardha Navasana bring life and vigor to the back muscles and enable people to gracefully and comfortably grow old.
Ardha Navasana Basic Details:
|Sanskrit Name||Ardha Navasana|
|English Name||Half Boat Pose|
How to do Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
1. Sit on your yoga mat and stretch your legs in front of you, keep them straight.
2. Now interlock your fingers and put them on the back of your head, just above your neck.
3. Breath out, move your upper body slightly back, and simultaneously raise your legs from the floor. Keep your knees tight and your toes pointed forward.
4. You have to balance your body weight on your buttocks and you should not allow any part of your spine to touch the floor. You will feel the grip on your muscles of the abdomen and the lower back.
5. Keep your forehead in line with your toes and your legs at an angle of about 30 to 35 degrees from the floor.
6. Stay in this pose for about 15 to 20 seconds with normal breathing. If you can hold this pose for about one minute or more it shows you have strong abdominal muscles.
Precautions Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
1. While doing this asana do not hold your breath because the normal tendency is to hold the breath after breathing in.
2. Holding the breath will affect the stomach muscles and not the abdominal organs.
3. In this asana deep inhalation would loosen the grip over abdominal muscles, so the practitioner to maintain grip, can breathe in, breath out and hold the breath and repeat the process without deep breathing. This will work not only the abdominal muscles but also the organs.
4. When you are performing this pose do not round your back but keep it straight.
Contraindications Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
1. If you are suffering from a neck injury then you should avoid this pose.
2. Pregnant ladies should also avoid this pose.
3. Girls and ladies during menstruation can avoid this pose.
4. People with a tendency for low blood pressure should not perform this pose.
5. If you are suffering from Asthma or Diarrhea then also you should avoid this pose.
Ardha Navasana and Paripurna Navasana difference
In Ardha Navasana the feet are in line with the head but in Paripurna Navasana the legs are moved higher than the head. The other difference is the distance between the legs and stomach. In Ardha Navasana the distance between the legs and the stomach is more as compared to Paripurna Navasana.
In both poses the balance of the body is solely on the butts, preventing any part of the spine or the thighs to touch the floor.
Half Boat Pose Benefits
- Very effective exercise for intestines.
- Ardha Navasana works wonderfully on the liver, gall bladder, and spleen.
- It increases the flexibility of the body and helps in building steadiness in the core muscles.
- Abdominal organs are stimulated.
- Helps in improving digestion.
- Give strength to hip flexors.
- Improvement in blood circulation.
- Regulates functions of the Kidney and pancreas.
- Helpful in regulating menstrual cycles.
- It helps to stimulate prostate and pituitary glands
Once you develop full confidence in Ardha Navasana you can go for Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose).
When Practitioner begins doing these asanas, the back is too weak to withstand the strain of the pose. When a person is able to comfortably perform the asana, it shows that the power to retain the pose is coming, and the back is gaining strength.
A weak back in many ways is a handicap, especially for women as they need strong backs for bearing children. These two asanas along with lateral twisting of the spine help to strengthen the back.
Variation of Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
1. Place a blanket on your mat to provide some extra cushioning for your buttocks and sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) with your legs together and straight in front of you.
2. Now place your hands on the floor beside your hips and press your thighs into the floor. Stretch your heels away from your pelvis to straighten your legs fully.
3. Raise your upper body straight up away from the floor and open your chest. Your back should feel like it is moving forward toward the front of your body. Now raise the front of your body all the way from the bottom of the pelvis to the top of your chest.
4. Press the top of your thigh bone into the floor to separate your upper body from your legs and raise your lower abdomen away from the thighs without tilting on the back of the buttocks. Raise your ribcage away from your abdomen and roll the shoulders back.
5. Bend the knees and place the feet on the floor. Now hold the tops of the knees with your hands, and slightly pull to lift the sternum.
6. Lift the feet from the floor until the shins are parallel to the floor. Keep your legs together while bringing your thighs closer to the chest and lifting your chest.
7. Now that you are balancing yourself on the buttocks, don’t move back onto your spine. Pull-on your knees once again to raise the chest and increase your lift of the sternum away from the navel.
8. Now without dropping your chest, stretch the arms straight forward beside your legs. Your arms should be parallel to the floor and palms facing each other. Now feel how the abdominal muscles engage as you pull the thighs closer to the upper body. Keep your back straight and don’t let it go round and see if you can lengthen your torso even more.
9. As the arms stretch forward your shoulders should pull back to engage the shoulder blades to move down your back and forward toward your chest.
10. Now relax your throat and look straight in front of you. You can hold yourself in this pose initially for 30 seconds and work up to one minute with normal breathing.
11. To come out of the pose exhale and place your feet on the floor and return back to the Dandasana.
This is challenging at first but with regular practice, it can be assumed very effortlessly. In the beginning, you can hold this pose for just a few seconds but eventually, you will be able to maintain it for more than a minute. A strong back attained through this pose will be very helpful in performing more challenging asanas very comfortably.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. Why can’t I straighten my legs in a boat pose?
Ans: If you do not have enough flexibility in your hamstrings and strength in your quadriceps it will be difficult to straighten your legs during the pose.This is likely to happen in the beginning but with continues practice you will gain strength in muscles and will be able to straighten your legs in the pose.
Q2. How long should you hold a boat pose?
Ans: Initially, you can hold the pose for about 30 seconds and then increase the duration up to one minute. For the maximum benefit out of the pose be careful to breathe normally during the pose and not hold your breath, it is a common mistake beginners do.
Q3. Why do I shake in the boat pose?
Ans: While balancing on your body in the Boat pose, you can feel your body is trembling. It is normal and shows that your muscles are working hard for the pose and are not used to this exercise. The shaking is caused by muscles grabbing and releasing one another when they lengthen and shorten during the pose.
Q4. Can Boat pose hurt my back?
Ans. If you are already suffering from any back injury then doing Boat Pose can aggravate the injury. Otherwise, the Boat pose is an excellent yoga pose to strengthen the core and back muscles. One another mistake people sometimes do is that they round their back during the pose, it can decrease the core activation and hurt your back if not corrected in time.
You may also like:
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- wheel pose(Chakrasana)
- Sirsasana (Headstand)
Share your experience of doing Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) and let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding this Pose in the comments section below.