Boat (FULL)
PARIPŪRNA NĀVĀSANA (परिपूर्ण नावासन)
(PAH-ree-POOR-nah nah-VAHS-anna)


‘Paripūra’= full or complete, ‘Nāva’= boat, ‘āsana’= posture

Alternate Names

Boat Pose (Navasana)



Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Seated / Stretch / Balance

1. Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana), seated with your legs extended straight (do not lock the knees). Make sure to bring your shoulder blades back so that your shoulders are down and under your ears with your spine extended upward.
2. Draw your knees into a bending position, keeping your inner legs squeezed together. Engage your back and core to keep your back extended straight up. Place your hands around the outside of your knees.
3. Continue engaging your core as you start to tilt back and balance between your sit bones and tailbone. Engage your inner thigh and hamstrings as you continue to tilt back. Change the position of your hands to grab the back of your thighs as you raise your feet off the mat. Keep your knees slightly bent and legs together.
4. Make sure to keep your chest lifted and open by lengthening the spine from the sit bones, up through the tailbone and spine, to the crown of your head. Remember to breathe and align your neck with your spine, being cautious not to strain your neck.
5. Keep your legs squeezed together as you extend your legs so that your toes are level with your eyes to the top of the head, creating a “V’ with your body.
6. Keep your back straight and slowly release the back of your thighs to extend your arms forward so that they are parallel to the mat at about knee level. Your palms facing your legs.
7. Your arms and legs are now balancing in the air. Focus on your alignment by continuing to extend your back through the crown of your head and stretching your legs out through your toes.
8. Hold the posture for several breaths (about 20 seconds to build strength) and then slowly release your arms and legs back into Staff Pose (Dandasana) or into Corpse Pose (Savasana).

Common Adjustments
• Neck strained
• Shoulders hunched
• Rounded middle spine
• Sternum not lifted
• Loss of balance / shaking
• Legs apart
• Chest not lifted and open or chest collapsed
• Lower back rounded or tucking in pelvis

• For beginners, and students who have trouble balancing, two stools and blankets can be used. Place one stool behind you, with a blanket on it to lean on, and the other stool with a blanket on it in front so that your legs can rest on it. Doing this modification will relieve pressure from your abdomen, legs, and back until your core is strong enough to hold this posture on your own.
• To practice balance, students can rest their legs on a chair, wall, or stability ball to build their strength.
• For students with tight hamstrings and legs, two Yoga belts strapped together can be used. The straps should be placed on the back just below the shoulder blades and then on the soles of your feet (above the heels) so that the straps circle the body. Then place your hands behind your hips, stretch out your legs, and lean back. This helps stretch the hamstrings and torso, while allowing your abdomen to be soft.
• For students who need assistance maintaining a straight back, they can use a strap. After Step 3 on “How to Demonstrate the Pose,” place a strap at the balls of the feet (just below the toes) and then pull the ends to create resistance. Then follow the remaining steps (minus where to place your hands).
• To deepen, add the thinnest side of a block in-between the knees, grab your toes, or twist to the side.

Counter Poses
• Chair (Utkatasana)
• Plow (Halasana)
• Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
• Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
• Shoulder Stand, Supported (Salamba Sarvangasana)

• Neck and Chest• Shoulders
• Biceps and Triceps• Upper (Cervical) and Lower (Lumbar) back and Spine
• Abdomen (Core)• Hips (Hip Flexors)
• Gluteus Maximus• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Ankles

• Strengthens the core (abdomen), arms, legs, groin, hips / hip flexors, upper / lower back muscles, and quadriceps through balancing in the “V” formation. This also helps with proper body alignment, improves posture and balance, and helps to keep the spine’s natural curve.
• Creates flexibility in the hamstrings and quadriceps through stretching.
• Tightening the spinal muscles, and stretching to keep the torso upright, builds and strengthens the spinal cord / nerves and lengthens the neck. Opens the throat, shoulders, and chest.
• Improves concentration by focusing on balance, which also helps to reduce stress and build confidence.
• Improves digestion, metabolic rate, and blood circulation.

• During pregnancy, it is better to avoid this posture, as it can cause stress to the abdomen, which then can cause tightness in the legs and lower back. If a student does want to do this posture, they should do Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) and/or use props.
• Students with low blood pressure, a cardiac condition, diarrhea, or are in their menstrual cycle, should avoid this pose due to pressure in the core and abdomen.
• Students with high blood pressure should use caution in this pose, because strain could be felt in the chest and upper body, especially if the pose was done incorrectly or their alignment is off.
• Students with an injury or pain in the hips, knees, neck or lower back (especially around the tailbone) should avoid this posture, unless proper props are available for use. If a student does want to do this posture, they should do Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) or the Staff Pose (Dandasana) with props.
• Students, who are experiencing breathlessness, have a cold or bronchitis, have migraines, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, cervical spondylosis or insomnia should avoid this pose.

Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.

Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – Seated Postures as “Paripurna Navasana – Full Boat Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 8 video “Paripurna Navasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – SITTING POSES as “NAVASANA – Boat Pose”.

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