NAVIGATING YOGA > When I find myself moving at the speed of light, unable to regroup and slow down, I head straight for my yoga mat. This week’s featured yoga pose—Navasana, or “Boat Pose,”—concentrates on strengthening the core while lifting the torso and ultimately lifting the human spirit.
A strong core in yoga helps to support your spine when trying to balance, move into a backbend, or even while sitting in a meditative position. When your core is strong, tension can slowly release from your spine. Paripurna Navasana is considered one of the great core-strengthening postures in an asana practice. So for flat abs and a healthy back, practice this pose step by step:
1. I like to begin the posture on my back, hugging my knees into my chest, and rocking back and forth from the shoulders to the low back like a rocking chair to roll out the spine. Eventually, you can rock yourself all the way to sitting on your sit bones. With your legs still elevated, draws your hands underneath your knees for support.
2. With bent knees and legs elevated, pull your navel to your spine, activating your core. Use the strength from your belly to balance, not your back. Try to keep your body upright. If you’re feeling balanced let go of the knees and let your hands float down by your sides
3. To reach the full expression of the posture, let your legs extend out and up towards the sky. Keep your arms stretched out alongside your legs, parallel to each other and the floor. Spread your shoulders alongside your back, externally rotating them away from your ears.
4. Keep your core activated. Avoid the temptation to sink into your lower back. Lift through the crown of your head to keep your torso long, smile with your collarbone, feel your inhale expand through your heart, and with each exhale feel your belly contract.
5. Hold the posture for five slow breaths (about 30 seconds). Silently affirm, “With my every breath is infinite power.”
Release the legs with an exhalation and sit upright on your inhalation.
Breathe. Relax. Restore. Namaste