What Is the Boat Hold Exercise? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

The boat hold exercise is an intensive abdominal exercise that is included in several yoga practices. It is thought to be a wonderful movement for stabilising your lower core, as well as assisting with relaxation and digestion.

This practice is also known as Paripurna Navasana, which is derived from the Sanskrit term ‘paripurna’ meaning full, ‘nava’ meaning boat and ‘asana’ meaning posture.

In yoga, the boat hold exercise is a top core strengthening pose.

It works to strengthen your core and stimulate your power centre. The action also strengthens your abdominal, hip flexors and quadriceps, as well as addressing your back muscles.

How to do the boat hold exercise correctly?

After warming up and preparing the body for the strengthening position, it’s critical to grasp how to do it correctly to avoid squeezing the spine and hurting the back.


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to practice Boat Pose with proper technique:

  • Start in Staff Pose, with a stiff spine and both legs extended out in front of you, hands flat on the floor at your sides.
  • Bring your feet close to you and bend your knees so that the soles are face down on the ground. Check to see if your spine is still upright.
  • Lean back only enough to feel your core contract as you raise your hands backwards a bit by your hips, and pull one leg up at a time.
  • At the start, keep both knees bent, and concentrate on obtaining a right balance on your sit bones while maintaining a straight back. Bring your hands behind your knees after lifting them off the ground.
  • You can remain here, and extend both hands to your sides to enhance the intensity, or you can lengthen both legs to raise the abdominal and hip flexor effort even more.
  • Bending and dropping your legs to the ground, slowly come out of the stance.

Benefits of boat hold exercise

This asana has numerous advantages and should be included in your regular yoga regimen.

1) Strengthen abdominal muscles

Boat Pose strengthens the abdominal and core muscles.

It works with deep hip flexors as well as abdominal muscles. These muscles become weak when you remain in the same position for long periods of time. It will also aid in the development of your equilibrium.

2) Improved concentration

Boat Pose improves concentration and body awareness. It can help you feel more energised and empowered, as well as enhance your energy and combat fatigue.

3) Balanced posture

By strengthening your core and thighs, the Boat Pose improves posture and counteracts the consequences of prolonged sitting and computer work.

Common mistakes to avoid while doing boat hold exercise

Many people become fixated on the contour of the posture rather than the basis on which it is built, and as a result, they fail to execute it according to their needs.

It’s critical to understand the main mistakes to avoid in order to get the most out of Boat Pose and avoid strains or injuries. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:

1) Shrugging your shoulders

When you feel like you’re about to tumble out of that stance, your shoulders can shrug. Wrap up your shoulder blades, and activate your core when you feel this.

2) Collapsing your chest

When people shake their heads and do not engage their core, the chest can collapse.

The chest drops lower as the spine naturally rounds. Inhale, and draw your shoulder blades to touch your ears while focusing on re-engaging your core.

3) Not engaging core muscles

This happens when you become weary and allow your tummy to sag. To combat the same, simply re-engage the core.

4) Sticking your butt out

This happens when you don’t use your core muscles.

Your butt can stick out if your lower back is working too hard to hold you in that stance. To find that balance, engage your core and realign your tailbone.

Variations of boat hold exercise

This stance is renowned for its versatility and dynamic nature.

Working at the core entails involving the various levels of abdominal muscles. This position can be made more or less strenuous, depending on the fitness level.

If you are comfortable with the boat hold exercise, try out the following variations to spice things up a little bit:

1) Bent knee boat pose

To reduce effort and relieve pressure on your lower back, try doing the pose with your knees bent. You can support yourself by bringing your hands behind your knees or by placing them behind you on the floor.

2) Twisting boat pose

This is similar to the Russian Twist but more intense. Instead of keeping your legs bowed, try keeping them straight (while maintaining perfect alignment) and rotating your core from side to side.

Q. Have you tried boat hold pose?

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