Paripurna Navasana, also known as Boat Pose, is a yoga pose that targets the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. This yoga pose is particularly beneficial for strengthening the overall core muscles.

The steps to do Paripurna Navasana yoga pose or Boat Pose are simple yet not too easy for beginners. Wondering how to practise Paripurna Navasana or what its benefits are? For starters, to perform this pose, one sits with legs extended, lifts their legs off the ground, and balances on their sit bones, forming a V shape with their body.

What role does a strong core play in maintaining overall health and fitness?

Importance of core strength © Pexels

• Your core muscles, which include the abdominals, lower back muscles, and obliques, are responsible for supporting your spine, pelvis, and torso.

• When these muscles are not strong, it can cause poor posture, back pain, and other issues.

• A strong core can help improve posture, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance athletic performance.

• It also supports proper breathing, digestion, and balance.

• In addition to the physical benefits, a strong core can also have positive effects on mental health.

• By improving body awareness, posture and promoting better alignment, it can help to reduce stress and tension in the body.

Paripurna Navasana helps in building core strength © Pexels

Engages the core muscles

• Paripurna Navasana or Boat Pose engages the core, including the abdominals, lower back, and obliques.

• This engagement strengthens and tones these muscles, leading to improved posture, reduced risk of back pain, and enhanced athletic performance among other benefits.

Builds endurance and stability

• By holding this yoga pose, you challenge your core muscles to support your complete body weight, which builds endurance and stability in the core.

Improves flexibility

• Paripurna Navasana yoga pose can also help improve flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors.

• This increased flexibility can lead to better range of motion and reduced risk of injury.

Enhances balance and coordination

• Practising Paripurna Navasana yoga pose or Boat Pose can improve balance and coordination, as you find and maintain your centre of gravity in the V shape of the yoga pose.

Benefits of Paripurna Navasana Pexels

Practising Paripurna Navasana, or Boat Pose, offers numerous physical benefits, including:

Stimulates digestion

• Paripurna Navasana yoga pose or Boat Pose helps stimulate the digestive system, relieving constipation and promoting the digestive system.

Relieves stress and tension

• As a yoga posture, Paripurna Navasana pose promotes relaxation and can help reduce stress, anxiety and tension in the body.

Improves circulation

• By stimulating the abdominal muscles, Paripurna Navasana can help improve circulation throughout the body, promoting overall health and well-being.

Reduces stress and anxiety

• Practising Paripurna Navasana can aid in beating stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation.

Increases focus and concentration

• Holding the pose requires focus and concentration, which can help you in improving these skills both on and off the yoga mat.

Enhances mood

• As a physical activity, Paripurna Navasana can release endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals, which enhance the mood and promote feelings of happiness.

Improves self-awareness

• Practising yoga poses like Paripurna Navasana can help increase self-awareness, which can lead to stronger emotional intelligence and improved relationships with others.

Promotes mindfulness

• By focusing on the breath and the present moment while holding the pose, Paripurna Navasana or Boat Pose can promote mindfulness and a greater sense of awareness and connection to the body and mind.

How to do Paripurna Navasana © iStock

Paripurna Navasana, also known as Boat Pose, is a challenging yoga pose that requires balance and core strength. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do Paripurna Navasana:

• Start by sitting with your legs extended in front of you and your arms resting by both your sides.

• Bend your knees and position your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart.

• Bring your hands behind your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet, and press your hands firmly into the mat.

• Inhale deeply, lengthen your spine, and engage your core muscles.

• Exhale and lean back slightly, raising your feet off the ground. Keep your knees bent and bring your shins parallel to the floor.

• As you exhale, lift your feet higher, straightening your legs and reaching your toes towards the ceiling. Keep your spine straight and your chest lifted.

• Extend your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing each other, and reach them forward alongside your legs.

• Stay in this position for several breaths, maintaining balance and engaging your core muscles.

• To release the pose, exhale and slowly lower your feet and torso back down to the mat.

Tips for doing the Boat Pose correctly

• Keep your sight fixed on a point in front of you to maintain balance.

• If you find it challenging to straighten your legs, keep them bent and gradually work towards straightening them over time.

• Keep your spine straight and avoid rounding your back.

• Breathe deeply and smoothly throughout the pose.

Most common mistakes to avoid and the risks of incorrect alignment

Mistakes while doing Paripurna Navasana © iStock

Here are some common mistakes to avoid while doing Paripurna Navasana:

Rounding the spine:

• Rounding the spine is a common mistake in Boat Pose.

• Instead, focus on keeping your spine straight and your chest lifted. Engage your core muscles to support your lower back and avoid rounding.

Gripping with the toes:

• Some people tend to grip the mat with their toes, which can create tension in the feet and legs. Instead, relax your feet and focus on engaging your core muscles to lift your legs.

Holding the breath:

• It's important to breathe deeply and smoothly throughout the pose.

• Avoid holding your breath or breathing in a shallow manner.

Collapsing the chest:

• Some people tend to collapse their chest and shoulders in Boat Pose, which tense up the neck and shoulders. Instead, focus on lifting your chest and keeping your shoulders relaxed.

Overarching the back:

• While it's important to keep your spine straight, be careful not to over-arch your lower back.

• Engage your core muscles to support your lower back and maintain proper alignment.

Not engaging the core:

• Boat Pose is an excellent exercise for strengthening the core muscles.

• Make sure to engage your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles to support your spine and maintain balance.

There are several yoga asanas you can combine with Paripurna Navasana to increase core strength. Here are a few suggestions:

Plank Pose

Paripurna Navasana can be combined with plank pose © iStock

• This pose is great for building core strength and can be done before or after Paripurna Navasana.

• Start in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and your feet hip-distance apart.

• Engage your core and hold the pose for several breaths, making sure to keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Paripurna Navasana can be combined with Chaturanga Dandasana © iStock

Chaturanga Dandasana

• This pose is an excellent way to strengthen the arms, chest, and core muscles.

• Begin in Plank Pose and slowly lower your body down towards the mat, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

• Hold the pose for several breaths before pushing back up into Plank Pose.

Paripurna Navasana can be combined with upward plank pose © iStock

Upward Plank Pose

• This pose strengthens the entire core, including the abs, obliques, and lower back muscles.

• Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you and your hands behind your hips.

• Lift your hips up towards the ceiling and hold the pose for several breaths.

Paripurna Navasana can be combined with Dolphin plank pose © iStock

Dolphin Plank Pose

• This pose is a variation of Plank Pose that also targets the core muscles.

• Begin in Dolphin Pose with your forearms on the mat and your elbows under your shoulders.

• Engage your core and lift your hips up into a plank position, keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Paripurna Navasana can be combined with side plank pose © iStock

Side Plank Pose

• This pose targets the oblique muscles, which are important for core stability.

• Begin in Plank Pose and shift your weight onto your left hand and outer edge of your left foot.

• Stack your right foot on top of your left foot and lift your right arm up towards the ceiling.

• Hold the pose for several breaths before switching sides.

Best yoga props to practise Boat pose efficiently

1. Strauss Blue Floral Print Yoga Mat

Yoga mat is one of the yoga props needed for Paripurna Navasana © Nykaa Fashion

A yoga mat is essential for a stable surface for your yoga practice and cushioning your spine. This anti-skid yoga mat by Strauss is suitable for intense as well as beginner yoga workout and other floor exercises. The non-slip, textured patterned foam material bottom provides stability during yoga or workout.

Price: INR 1299

Buy it here.

2. Nama Yoga Strap

Yoga strap is one of the yoga props needed for Paripurna Navasana © Shakti Warrior

A yoga strap can be used to reach your feet if you have limited flexibility. Looping the strap around the balls of your feet, you can hold onto the strap with both hands, and use it to help pull yourself deeper into the pose.

This yoga strap by Nama is made from organic cotton using non harmful dyes. This cotton belt with its sliding metal buckle makes it one of the most sought-after yoga props. It will support your yoga practice by opening you up like never before.

Price: INR 550

Buy it here.

3. Adidas Yoga Block - Foam

Yoga mat is one of the yoga props needed for Paripurna Navasana © Nykaa

A yoga block can help support your lower back, especially if you have stiff hamstrings. Place the block under your sitting bones to raise your hips and help keep your spine in a neutral position.

Designed to both deepen and support your yoga poses, the Adidas Yoga Block provides a sturdy yet comfortable foundation to help you achieve a wider range of positions. Made from lightweight EVA foam, the block offers complete strength and dependability, giving you complete room to focus on your session.

Price: INR 1099

Buy it here.

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