Yoga Poses: Naukasana

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Naukasana ‘boat pose’ is also known as Navasana and is a strengthening seated pose that is part of the Pawanmuktasana 2 (abdominal/digestive) series.

In the full expression you will be able to raise the arms and legs quite high (pictured above), but if you find it hard to balance or you aren’t able to keep the legs straight, you should try lifting to a lower height (pictured below) as you slowly build up your core and back strength with time.

Laying on the ground with your spine, neck, and head straight, rest your arms on top of your thighs and breathe deeply.

On your inhale, raise the torso and legs to a comfortable height, using your core power and not relying heavily on your lower back muscles. Try to maintain a nice, straight spine by constantly stretching up through it to maintain your balance.

Use your exhale to slowly lower back down to the ground.

You can choose to practice this as a static or a dynamic movement.

If dynamic, breathe in completely before raising and hold the breath inside while you raise the torso and legs and hold the pose. Then breathe out slowly as you lower the body. Repeat this 3-5 times.

If static, breathe normally in the final raised pose and hold the posture for as long as is comfortable, again lowering the body with the exhale.

It is imperative that you do not strain the body when performing Naukasana.

You can also practice both movements dynamically together, which is a great exercise to build core strength. I have a short video demo here.

Benefits
This pose stimulates the digestive, muscular, hormonal, nervous, and circulatory systems of the body. It tones all internal organs. It is especially good at releasing nervous tension and can be used prior to savasana to achieve a much deeper state of relaxation.

Contraindications
Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure or any serious heart conditions, as well if you have any back issues like slipped disc or sciatica, or if you have had abdominal surgery in recent months. If you have any doubt, consult a professional before practicing.

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