Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Navasana means Boat pose. This is a pose in which the doer will assume the shape of a boat. Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) and Eka Pada Navasana (One legged / Foot Boat Pose) are its variants.
Paripurna = Full
Nava = Boat
Asana = Pose, Posture
If this asana is done regularly and religiously, it bestows many benefits towards good health and empowers you with vital energy. This asana instills strength and balance in our lives, just as a steady boat (ship) moves calmly through the rough seas against all odds and tides. In its full expression the Paripurna Navasana demands full extension of both your arms and legs along with your body to be shaped into an acute, boat like ‘V’ shape, both limbs of V joined at your butt (tailbone), resting on the ground whilst the limbs of your V high up in the air, extended to fullest lengths. This asana is also called as Naukasana (Nauka also means boat).
Preparation for Paripurna Navasana
- Before beginning the Paripurna Navasana, make sure that you keep your stomach, bowel and bladder empty. For this, you need to have your food at least 4-6 hours before performing the asana. By the time you begin the asana, the food taken would have been digested and the energy derived from the food will enable you to perform the asana with ease and comfort.
- It is always preferable to practice this asana in the early hours of the morning. In case, due to some unavoidable situations you could not do it in the morning, you can do it in the evening schedule.
Method of doing Paripurna Navasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Sit erect on your mat.
- Stretch out the legs right in front of you.
- Place your hands on the floor. Make sure that your hands are placed on the floor slightly behind your hips.
- Pull your body up. Make sure that your sternum is lifted.
- Lean Back.
- Straighten your back making sure that it is not rounded.
Performing and getting to the Paripurna Navasana
- After positioning yourself as said above, breathe out and lift your legs such that they make an angle of 45 degrees with the floor (approximately).
- Extend your tailbone.
- Move your hips close to your navel.
- Straighten your knees.
- Straighten and lift your toes to the level of your eyes.
- Now ensure that you are comfortably seated on your buttocks and tailbone.
- Now raise your arms and stretch them out such that they are parallel to the floor as well as to each other.
- Make sure that the lower part of your abdomen is firm but not thick and hard.
- Breathe normally.
- Hold in that pose for about 10-20 seconds initially. You may increase the time of doing the pose as you master it.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- After keeping yourself positioned in this asana for the desired period, slowly release by bringing down your legs slowly. Gradually bring down your hands also. Keep your legs extended in front of you and your hands by the sides of your torso, just as you had begun.
- Breathe out as your release the pose and relax.
Tips for Beginners
If you are a beginner trying to do Paripurna Navasana, you can do the preparations for this asana by comfortably sitting on your office chair.
Sit on the chair edge and place your knees at 90 degree angle.
Lean forwards by holding the sides of your chair.
When your arms hold the sides of the chair firmly, lift your ischium (sitting bones, butts), a little off the seat.
Now raise your heels. Let the balls of your feet touch the floor gently.
Feel and experience the heads of your thigh bones pull with the force of gravity as you pull your sternum or breastbone up and ahead.
Do not forget to take the opinion of your Yoga teacher before you attempt this and never do it on the chair which has wheels.
Advanced pose (variation of Paripurna Navasana)
- Paripurna Navasana itself is a full pose and is an advanced pose of Navasana, there is no advanced pose of this asana.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Paripurna Navasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Paripurna Navasana Poses)
After performing Paripurna Navasana, one can perform –
- Adho Mukha Shwanasana
- Baddha Konasana
- Salmba Sirsasana
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Paripurna Navasana?
One can stay in Paripurna Navasana for 10-60 seconds at a stretch.
Health Benefits of Paripurna Navasana
Below mentioned are the benefits of Paripurna Navasana –
- Paripurna Navasana strengthens the spine, hip flexors, and abdomen (abdominal muscles)
- This asana helps in stretching the hamstring muscles.
- This asana provides a good massage to the abdominal organs and helps in improving the digestion and metabolism. It also strengthens the digestive system.
- Paripurna Navasana activates the kidneys, intestines, thyroid glands and prostate glands.
- This asana provides good strength and tonicity to the reproductive system.
- It is a good stress reliever.
- The asana provides good stability to the body.
- The asana helps in developing and improving your focus.
Paripurna Navasana – Explanation as per Ayurveda:
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Paripurna Navasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Paripurna Navasana controls and balances the Prana Vayu, Samana Vayu and Apana Vayu. By balancing Prana Vayu, the asana helps reliving stress and improves your focus. By strengthening and balancing Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta, Paripurna Navasana helps in improving the digestion and strengthens the digestive system and abdominal organs. By balancing the functions of Apana Vayu, the asana helps in activating the prostate glands, kidneys and strengthens the reproductive system.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Paripurna Navasana on Dhatus –
Paripurna Navasana helps in strengthening the mamsa dhatu (muscles), especially those around your spine, hips, and abdomen and hamstring muscles of the thighs.
Paripurna Navasana, what it promises!
Paripurna Navasana is an awesome exercise and good workout for your torso and limbs. It makes your spine stronger. It also teaches you about yourself and creates an awareness of self. It makes you aware about your breathe and basic nature and your emotions.
When you practice this asana on regular basis the asana strengthens every bit of you to the core including the organs of your body, nerves, bones and muscles.
Since your arms and legs stay firm and steady in this asana, the asana requires you to draw your spine, abdomen, chest, shoulders, front area of your trunk and pelvis. In this pose, once you master it and learn to hold on the pose for more time, you will start feeling strong, both physically and mentally.
Never allow your mind to get distracted while you are in this pose because you may lose the balance. Ensure to find stability as you loosen your facial muscles and relax. This is the key to find your balance and stability. Also breathe normally while in pose.
This asana is a good workout for muscles. As you practice this asana regularly, you will find that your breathing patterns have improved and you are better oxygenated to the core.
Impact on Chakras
Paripurna Navasana strengthens the Swadishtana Chakra – Sacral Chakra. This allows the flow of free energy in your body. It is one of the most powerful asana to strengthen the sexual organs and sexual functions.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Paripurna Navasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Paripurna Navasana –
- Heart diseases
- Low Blood Pressure
- Abdominal injuries
- Knee Injury
- Hip Injury
- Arm injury
- Shoulder Injury
- Recent Surgeries
Make sure to practice this asana under the guidance of an expert Yoga tutor, especially if you are a beginner.
Just Before Finish
Paripurna Navasana takes you into a wonderful journey towards a comprehensive health. It strengthens your spine, hips and abdomen, activates and improves the functions of many organs, tissues and glands and removes your stress. It is not only a good workout for your body but also a soothing and calming pose for your senses and mind.
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