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Paripurna Navasana (Boat Pose)

Navasana is a big, warming, vigorous pose that I find empowering! There is nothing small about it and it’s a reminder to be the biggest best version of ourselves. Playing small doesn’t work in Navasana.


Here’s the how to:

  • Find a comfortable seat on your mat with legs extended. Root down into the mat with your sits bones (those two bony prominences that you sit on when seated).
    — modification: bring a folded blanket under the sits bones. This will help you stack your spine and grow taller as you root down with the sits bones. Blanket under the sites bones helps with any curvature that might present itself in the low back.
  • Bend each knee and place the sole of each foot on the mat in alignment with your sits bones. Bring your finger tips to the mat (elbows pointing back) and lean slightly back keep the rooting action with the sits bones happening along with a long spine (no curving in the low back) – lengthen tailbone out the crown of the head. It’s important to check in here and see where your body wants to grip and hold. Try to breathe into those areas.
  • Open your chest and relax your shoulders down. Lift the pelvic floor and pull navel to spine. Reach one arm forward, then the other. Keep a long spine and shoulders sliding down your back toward the sits bones.
  • Begin to lift first one leg keeping shins parallel to the floor, then the other. Keep the knees bent to start with and check to make sure you aren’t rounding in the low back or crunching the shoulders to the ears.
    — modification: keep the feet on the ground or if lifted knees bent. You can also take the back of the legs/knees with the fingers if the arms aren’t ready to reach quite yet but remember to keep the strength through the core of the body and no rounding in the low back if you are holding the backs of the knees or legs with the fingers.
  • Begin to straighten the legs. You might need to rock back just a little bit more but keep that spine long, and belly strong. Reach forward with the arms and spread those fingers wide. As you reach up with the legs and feet, try bringing the big toes together and spreading your toes wide.

Remember you are reaching forward and up into the biggest and best version of yourself!

Breathe! Find your long slow inhales and long slow exhales. Aim for at least 5 big breaths here.

If at any point and time you feel anything unwanted or unhappy in your low back (remember we don’t want a curvy low back here), bend the knees or bring the toes to the mat.

Beginners tip: Work the pose with knees bent and feet on the mat, arms reaching to start with. Once you feel super comfortable with 5 long inhales and 5 long exhales then move onward to lifting each leg but keeping the knees bent. Once this is easy, then move to the fully extended legs. Take it in small steps!

Variation tip: to switch things up with this pose a little and get into the inner thighs, practice holding a yoga block between your thighs.

This pose strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Learn to anchor the heads of the thighs bones deep in the pelvis and lift from that anchor through the front spine. Remember that the lower front belly should never get hard.

If you liked this pose and found it useful, please share it using the links below or leave a comment letting me know how this pose worked for you!

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