I can’t think of a pose I dread more than boat pose. My core has never been stronger as now, but somehow my enthusiasm has run dry and I find myself just baring a grin for what feels like two thousand years just to get through the beastly pose. Right after the relaxing seated postures it comes like a bat in the night about to slap your face with its wings. Your legs are up in the air, toning your abdominals and arms, strengthening your hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back muscles… It’s the only time of day I have a thigh gap, although everyone should know that those are irrelevant to anything important in life. I have to say though, it’s a pleasant distraction to observe my muscles toning up in the air, while they are simultaneously burning to return to the ground.
I really hate this posture. For the longest time I’d support myself with all of the weight on my sternum. One day during Mysore (traditional Ashtanga yoga un-led class as done in Mysore India), my British teacher Michael walked over and sweetly wagged his finger at me. “Emily… you can’t sit back on your sacrum. You need to lift up here, and be further up on your sit bones.” OH GOD. Just when this pose couldn’t get any worse. Now my body was in a perfect V but this was clearly working my body more effectively, with the weight on my sit bones, my hamstrings lengthening forever and ever, and my mind trying to focus on five breaths instead of death. Then you cross your legs, do a press up, and do it again. For a total of five times. That’s a total of twenty five breaths in this pose, which is essentially almost a minute of pretending like you are a boat. Certainly the most difficult boat ride I’ve ever been on, this pose challenges my sanity and perfervearance. I feel like if I make myself go through the motions of Navasana every morning for five breaths, five times, I can probably accomplish anything else I attempt that day. According to various websites Navasana increases confidence. I’m guessing it’s because you survive near-death everytime you do it. Navasana improves balance and digestion. It also stimulates the kidneys and intestines. It can help with hernias, thyroid, or prostate problems. It relieves stress (once again I’m assuming because this pose is so damn stressful that anything in comparison is easy).
For further reading, I like Zo Newell’s article on the mythology of boat pose. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-mythology-behind-navasana-boat-pose