Boat Pose is a core strengthener that also tests your balance, (all while you’re seated!) It engages the mid body, the hip flexors and the legs, and encourages taller, better posture.
To come into the pose, sit on the floor with your legs extended straight. Place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers pointing foward. Lengthen the arms, pressing the palms to the floor. Inhale and lift the chest, leaning back slightly. Reach the crown of the head high, keeping the spine long.
Next, bend the knees, and lift your feet off the floor. Find balance here as you rest on the sitting bones. Next, try to lift the thighs so they come to a 45 degree angle to the floor. Lengthen the front of the body. If your lower back feels comfortable here, straighten the legs. (If doing so aggravates the lower back or hamstrings, keep the knees bent, as you work towards lifting the shins parallel to the floor.)
To go deeper into the pose, lengthen your arms alongside the legs, parallel to each other and level with the knees. Broaden the shoulder blades and reach out through the fingers. A more gentle variation of boat pose is to keep the hands on the floor or hold on to the backs of the thighs.
Throughout the posture keep the lower belly lifted and firm. Keep the sternum lifted, and the lower back reaching toward the floor. Breathe naturally. If you have tenderness in the neck, drop the chin slightly so the back of the neck is long or sit with your back near a wall so that as you lean back you can rest the back of your head on the wall.
Try staying in the pose for 20 seconds. Gradually increase that time to 1 minute. When you’re ready to release, exhale, dropping the legs.
Core, hip flexors
- Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
- Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid, prostate and intestines
Don’t practice this posture if have severe asthma, heart problems, are pregnant, or suffer from a neck injury.