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Paripurna-Navasana: achieving the boat pose step by step

Even if you can find a multitude of postures on our sites, we haven’t presented the boat pose yet. As part of the navasana yoga, this exercise will require you to clasp and flex to master it and will bring you strength and agility. It is particularly indicated to keep a good blood pressure.

Like all navasana yoga poses, the yoga boat requires good knowledge before starting. This is why we will explain its origins, its benefits and finally how to achieve it.

What is the boat posture?

The Paripurna-navâsana Boat (paripurna: complete; navâsana: boat; the full boat pose) or also known as “Barque on the bottom”, has also other names: Sitting balance (Meru-danda) or Naukâsana, even if it is necessary to be wary of the latter which can quickly be confused with the “Barque on the belly”, a camber sometimes called Naukâsana or Navâsana. You can also practice Ardha Navasana which is the half boat pose.

Like all sitting postures, this one aims to increase your cladding to improve your yoga mastery. In the long run, you will see great progress that will make you see instant effects. Like the other typical postures, you will work with the soles of your feet on the ground and shins parallel to the floor, and extend your arms at the beginning.

It may seem easy but it requires a lot of concentration because you have to practice them by having a particular breath, a visual concentration (drishti), contractions (bandhas) and specific gestures (mudras).

The Boat is also called Sailboat, a dorsal posture, or Canoeing Nauka-sanchalana. These are nothing but names that correspond to the particular activities of variants of the Boat Paripurna-navâsana. All are related to the same principle of sitting posture, which works extensively the hamstrings and the abdominal belt.

The benefits of Paripurba-Navâsana

Since Paripurna-navâsana is a balanced sitting position, it works on balance and increases concentration. It aims to bring the consciousness of the right spine and to bring you a better posture on a daily basis. These specific postures have several advantages:

  • Strengthen the lumbar region and tone the back muscles.
  • Develop and strengthen the posterior musculature (thighs) and stretch the sciatic nerve.
  • Strengthen the muscles of the abdominal strap.
  • Stimulates and regulates digestive functions (especially stomach).
  • Stimulate waste disposal (especially urine). Avoid abdominal bloating.
  • Stimulates the cardiovascular system, improves circulation.
  • Stimulate the energy centers in the abdomen and lower abdomen (decongestion of the organs of the small pelvis: ovaries, prostate).
  • Balance the work of the hormonal glands and the secretion of adrenaline.
  • Relax your body and mind: stress and tension are alleviated.
  • Provide heat, give energy to the body: especially recommended in the morning.

The other variants of the Paripurna-navâsana Boat, dorsal (Sailboat) and chaining (Canoeing), have in common:

  • toning of the abdominal muscles (improving the strength and resistance of the abdominals);
  • Stimulation of the intestines (with effetcts on intestinal transit).

How to perform the boat posture

This posture, like many others, is done step by step. Regardless of your level, you can train to get there over time.

Start by sitting on your mat with your knees bent and feet flat. What is important in this posture is to keep your back straight, not to get carried back. If you do, you create a compression in the lower back because you take too much pressure on your ischios.

While placing your hands in the hollow of your knees, always think about lengthening your trunk to the maximum. When this is done, lean back a little bit to get your feet off the ground. From there, several variants exist depending on your level.

Now that you are slightly backward with your feet lifted off, put them so that your shins are parallel to the ground. At this stage, try to stick your thighs to your chest as much as possible, while keeping your back straight.

If you are comfortable like this, stretch out your hands in front of you and hold the position. The next step will be to come and stretch your legs towards the sky, forming a sort of V with your body, arms always extended in front of you.

The goal is never to force, go at your own pace, improve each time and try to hold the position for a few breaths, no more.


How to do the boat pose

Precautions to be taken and mistakes to be avoided

To achieve this posture well, you must pay attention to some points. First, do not perform this posture at the beginning of the session or cold, at the risk of injury. This exercise is quite demanding, which could cause you some problems especially in the lower back and ischios if you try to force it. As this is a demanding exercise, it can be interesting to place softer postures such as the Moon Salutation or the Mountain Pose at the end of the session, to soothe your body and mind.

Other contraindicated situations are those where you have a hernia (disc, lumbar or abdominal, whatever), hemorrhoids or that you are pregnant. It is also advisable not to practice it during digestion, or if you experience unexplained pain during posture. Do not hesitate to consult a specialist before starting yoga in general, it is possible that you suffer from ailments that can worsen significantly if you do not take care of it.


So here we are at the end of this article on boat posture. We hope you enjoyed it, and that you will continue to read us regularly! We discussed its origins, its health benefits, how to practice it and finally the precautions to take before you start. Thanks to this, you will now be able to exercise safely and at your own pace.


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