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Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana): Benefits, Steps & Variations

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The Half Boat Pose or the Ardha Navasana is a wonderful yoga 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.

Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)

Half Boat Pose, also known as Ardha Navasana, is a yoga posture that offers a range of benefits for your body and overall well-being. Incorporating Half Boat Pose into your yoga practice can bring about numerous benefits, from strengthening your core and improving digestion to promoting organ health and enhancing flexibility.

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 NameArdha Navasana
English NameHalf Boat Pose
Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Ardha Navasana

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. Your spine should not contact the floor, and your body weight should be evenly distributed on your buttocks. You will experience the grasp of the muscles on your abdomen and the lower back.

5. Maintain a 30- to 35-degree angle between your legs and the floor with your legs straight and your forehead in line with your toes.

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.

Ardha Navasana

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

Half Boat Pose, also known as Ardha Navasana, is a yoga posture that offers a range of benefits for your body and overall well-being. In this article, we will delve into the incredible advantages of practicing Half Boat Pose and how it can positively impact your health.

1. Effective Exercise for Intestines

Half Boat Pose serves as a highly effective exercise for the intestines. As you perform this pose, your abdominal muscles engage, and gentle pressure is applied to the intestines. The intestines are stimulated and massaged by this pressure, which also relieves constipation and supports a healthy digestive system.

2. Works on the Liver, Gall Bladder, and Spleen

The Half Boat Pose works wonders on vital organs such as the liver, gall bladder, and spleen. As you hold the pose, these organs experience a gentle compression, which can help improve their functionality and overall health. Regular practice of Half Boat Pose contributes to the optimal functioning of these organs, supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes and promoting better organ health.

3. Increases Body Flexibility and Core Strength

Practicing Half Boat Pose can significantly increase the flexibility of your body. The pose involves extending your legs and lifting them off the ground while balancing on your sit bones. Stretching the hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back during this movement increases mobility and flexibility in these areas. Furthermore, as you engage your core muscles to maintain balance, you develop steadiness and strength in your core, enhancing your overall physical stability.

4. Stimulates Abdominal Organs

Half Boat Pose provides gentle stimulation to the abdominal organs, including the digestive organs and reproductive system. The compression on the abdomen activates these organs, supporting their optimal function. This stimulation promotes better digestion, regulates menstrual cycles, and contributes to overall organ health.

5. Improves Digestion

Regular practice of Half Boat Pose can significantly improve digestion. As the abdominal muscles engage and the pose stimulates the digestive organs, digestion is enhanced. Common digestive problems like bloating, indigestion, and a sluggish metabolism can all be helped by doing this. By incorporating Half Boat Pose into your routine, you can promote a healthier digestive system and enjoy better overall digestive well-being.

6. Strengthens Hip Flexors

In order to keep the lower body balanced, stable, and mobile, the hip flexors are essential. Half Boat Pose provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen these muscles. As you lift and extend your legs in the pose, the hip flexors engage and work to maintain the posture. Regular practice of Half Boat Pose helps build strength in the hip flexors, contributing to better stability, balance, and overall lower body strength.

7. Improves Blood Circulation

Half Boat Pose promotes improved blood circulation throughout the body. As you hold the pose, the compression on the abdomen and engagement of the core muscles stimulate blood flow. The organs and tissues receive oxygen and nutrients thanks to the improved circulation, supporting their optimal performance and enhancing general health and vigor.

8. Regulates Kidney and Pancreas Functions

Regular practice of Half Boat Pose can contribute to the regulation of kidney and pancreas functions. The pose stimulates these organs, enhancing their functionality and promoting better overall health. The filtration and removal of pollutants from the body depend on healthy kidney function, and stable blood sugar levels are dependent on healthy pancreas function.

9. Helpful in Regulating Menstrual Cycles

For individuals experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, Half Boat Pose can be beneficial. The pose stimulates the reproductive organs, helping to regulate menstrual cycles. By practicing this pose regularly, you may experience improved hormonal balance and more regular menstrual cycles.

10. Stimulates Prostate and Pituitary Glands

Half Boat Pose offers stimulation to the prostate and pituitary glands. The compression and engagement of the core muscles activate these glands, promoting their optimal functioning. Male reproductive health depends on a healthy prostate gland, and the pituitary gland is essential for controlling hormone production and general hormonal balance.

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 Half Boat Pose Yoga

Half Boat Pose
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 lift your front torso from your pelvis all the way up 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.

Half Boat Pose for Beginners


Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) is challenging at first but with regular practice, it can be assumed very effortlessly. Initially, you can only remain in this position for a few seconds, but with practice, you will be able to hold it for up to a minute. A strong back attained through this pose will be very helpful in performing more challenging asanas very comfortably.  

FAQ: Half Boat Pose

Q1. Why can’t I straighten my legs in a Half 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 Half 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 Half boat pose?

Ans: While balancing on your body in the Half 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 Half Boat pose hurt my back?

Ans. If you are already suffering from any back injury then doing Half Boat Pose can aggravate the injury. Otherwise, the Half 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.

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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.

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