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Boat Pose (Navasana)

With Dr Kiki Morriss

Boat Pose (Navasana) is a balancing pose that demands significant strength of your abdominal, lower back and leg muscles. Practice the pose regularly to improve your core strength and stamina. Visualise your body taking the shape of a boat, with your arms as oars.

Moving into the pose

  • Sit in Staff Pose (Dandasana)
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat.
  • Lean back slightly and transfer your weight towards the back of your pelvis.
  • Lift your feet and straighten your legs.
  • Aim to make a V shape with your spine and legs.
  • Extend your arms forwards and hold them parallel to the ground.
  • Tilt your pelvis back, so most of your weight is on your ischium bones and coccyx.
  • Stay in the pose for 20-30 seconds, and breathe evenly.

Focus your gaze

  • Your focal point (drishti) is at a fixed point straight ahead of you. This will help you to balance in the pose.
  • Alternatively try gazing at the tip of your nose or at your toes.

Legs & Hips

  • Extend your legs and lift them from the ground by strongly engaging your quadriceps, iliopsoas and hip flexors.
  • Press your legs firmly together.
  • Hold your feet so they are in line with your gaze.
  • Avoid lowering your legs to a place where you are placing strain on your hip flexors.
  • Send energy to your toes.

Arms & Hands

  • Use your triceps to extend your arms and hold them parallel to the ground.
  • Turn your palms to face inwards.
  • Keep your fingers and thumbs together and point them forwards.
  • Send energy to your fingertips.

Back & Abdominals

  • Use your erector spinae, latissimus dorsi and your abdominal muscles (rectur and transversus abdominis) to hold your spine in position and to support your lumbar area.
  • Maintain a neutral spinal alignment and avoid rounding your back.
  • Lift up out of your lower back.
  • Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
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  • Keep your chest lifted.
  • Lift your sternum upwards and draw your shoulder blades towards the midline.


  • Hold your chin parallel to the ground.
  • Soften and relax your jaw.
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  • Strengthens your lower back and abdominals
  • Strengthens your legs.
  • Strengthens your iliopsoas (the muscles that support your pelvis).
  • Improves your core strength.
  • Focuses your mind.
  • Improves your concentration and stamina.

Modifications and Contraindications

  • To make the pose easier, try bending your knees or holding the backs of your legs.
  • Practice Boat Pose (Navasana) with caution if you have a lower back issue or injury.
  • Do not practice Boat Pose if you are pregnant.

Doctor Kiki Morriss is a medical doctor, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and founder of Primrose Hill Yoga, where she teaches adults, children and families. Visit: or

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