Boat Pose strengthens your abdominal, back and leg muscles. Practicing this pose regularly will help to develop the core strength needed for many other postures including more challenging inversions. Work at your own level and increase the challenge of the pose (releasing arms and straightening the legs) as your practice and core strength develops.
Boat Pose might appear anywhere in your practice but is most likely to be sequenced after your backbends and before hip opening poses such as Pigeon, Frog or Baddha Konasana.
How to get into the pose:
From Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana) bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet to the floor.
Draw your abdominal muscles in and up (engage uddiyana bandha). Bring your hands behind your knees.
Inhale to lift your heels in line with your knees (as in picture one).
Contract your abdominal muscles to protect your lower back.
Straighten your legs and extend your feet if you can without rounding into the lower back.
Let go of your knees and reach your arms forward if you can.
Keep your chest lifted.
Take five deep breaths.
To release the pose, exhale and cross your ankles, bring your feet to the floor and hands either side of the hips. Inhale to lift the seat bones (and your feet if you can).
Repeat Boat Pose for a further two rounds of five breaths.
After the final round, exhale and return to Seated Staff Pose or cross your ankles and step or jump back to plank.
Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.
How long to stay in the pose:
Extending your legs and taking your heels high whilst reaching your arms forward
Low boat - lower down in the pose until you are hovering your legs and upper back above the mat (sorry, no pictures of this!)
Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:
Use blocks under your hands to raise the floor to practice lifting feet and seat bones together
Contraindications / Cautions:
Do not practice these poses if you have a hernia
Be very cautious in Boat Pose if you have lower back problems