What is Navasana?
The term Navasana comes from the Sanskrit words ‘nava’ meaning boat and ‘asana’ meaning posture. This asana is being practiced for centuries, much before the more fashionable planks, knee-raises, and Pilates came into being.
The Navasana is a seated asana that acts as a balancing pose in which every limb is required to move towards your core or the center. The body assumes the shape of a boat with your arms and legs mimicking sails and oars. It is an intermediate yoga asana that has simpler variations like the Ardha Navasana in which the feet and body are half-raised and the Eka Pada Navasana in which only one leg is raised.
Who can perform Navasana?
The Navasana pose can be done by anyone who wants to build her/his core strength and prevent several commonly occurring disorders and diseases. Navasana is especially advised for:
- People who want to strengthen their core and back.
- Seniors can perform modified variations of the Navasana pose.
- People who are suffering from issues with their kidneys.
- Those who have been diagnosed with thyroid issues.
- People who suffer from frequent digestive issues.
- People who have been diagnosed with prostate gland issues.
- People who want to tone their abdominal muscles and lose belly fat.
- Athletes who want to develop six-pack abs.
- People who suffer from postural issues.
- People who want to balance their gait and coordinate their movements.
- Those who get stressed and anxious frequently.
- People who want to improve their memory, concentration, and reactions.
- Those who want to tone their legs.
- People who have been diagnosed with a hernia.
- People who have liver issues.
- Those who suffer from hormonal issues.
Who should avoid Navasana?
Certain conditions render Navasana risky and difficult. It should be avoided by:
- Pregnant women.
- Women who are menstruating must avoid practicing the Navasana pose.
- If you are suffering from diarrhea, avoid practicing the Navasana yoga pose before you recover completely.
- People who are suffering from insomnia or broken sleep.
- Those who suffer from severe headaches must avoid Navasana before the headache subsides.
- Those with low blood pressure.
- People who experience severe shortness of breath or asthma.
- People who have suffered injuries to their neck, shoulders, back, or legs.
- People who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders.
- People who are undergoing severe stress, anxiety, or panic attacks.
- Those who have undergone surgery and are yet to recuperate.
- Those who are elderly and too fragile must only do gentle variations of this pose.
- Those suffering from fever, flu, or cold.
How does Navasana help?
The Navasana yoga pose, when practiced regularly, has amazing spiritual, mental, and physical benefits. These include:
- Navasana is a very effective pose to stretch the entire body from the neck to the feet. It opens up your limbs and joints and prevents pain and stiffness.
- Since this asana helps in stretching and strengthening your hamstrings, quadriceps muscles, and hips, it is an excellent pose for athletes to improve their endurance and performance.
- Navasana is a very effective asana to gently massage your abdominal muscles. This helps in toning it and reducing belly fat.
- This asana helps in gently massaging your abdominal organs. This helps cure and prevent digestive issues like gas, flatulence, bloat, etc.
- Navasana helps in strengthening your lower back. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from pains and stiffness due to postural problems or injuries.
- By stretching the entire body, full boat pose yoga helps in calming your nerves, reducing stress, and preventing anxiety. When practiced along with pranayama yoga, this is also beneficial for preventing impulsive actions and clearing your thinking.
- One of the most important Navasana benefits is that it helps in secreting gastric juices that improve your digestive processes. This also preventing gastric problems like constipation, flatulence, gas, etc.
- Navasana yoga helps in improving the health of your kidneys and preventing problems like kidney stones, etc.
- It strengthens the prostate gland.
- Navasana yoga helps in improving your lung function. This helps in preventing conditions like asthma, COPD, etc.
- Even if you practice the gentler Ardha Navasana, it offers great benefits like improving your balance and coordination. This in turn helps in preventing injuries from falls, etc.
- One of the most important Ardha Navasana benefits is that it serves as a gentler yoga posture for kids. This helps in building strength in their muscles, endurance, and immunity.
- Navasana helps in the improved functioning of your endocrine glands. This helps in controlling your moods, metabolism, and the functioning of the reproductive organs.
- Practicing this asana regularly helps in bettering your blood circulation. This helps in improving your immunity, preventing infections, and enhancing your cognitive abilities.
- Navasana helps in removing toxins from the body. This helps in reducing fatigue, exhaustion, and keeps you energetic throughout the day.
How is Navasana done?
Here is a detailed explanation of Navasana steps:
- Do a brief warm-up session.
- Start by sitting comfortably with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Gently lift your feet off the floor keeping your knees bent.
- Bring your shins parallel to the floor. This is the Ardha Navasana pose.
- Without letting your spine rounded, straighten your legs at an angle of 45-degrees. This will put your body in a ‘V’ shape.
- Gently push your shoulders back and straighten your arms parallel to the floor.
- Hold this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Release your legs and exhale gently.
- Do this asana 2-3 times, 3-4 times in a day.
What are some tips for performing Navasana safely?
Here are some things that you need to know before you start practicing Navasana:
- Never start practicing Navasana steps on your own. It should not be performed without learning the technique of the pose from an experienced trainer to avoid the risk of injuries. For this, you can also join a yoga and meditation center near me.
- Since this asana involves stretching your entire body, always do a warm-up session before you start practicing Navasana. This is important for preventing injuries and fatigue.
- Don’t overstretch your muscles during this asana. If at any point in time you feel an excessive pull or pain, stop immediately.
- Start slow with this asana and build the repetitions gradually. Doing too much too soon may cause more harm than good.
- Kids, seniors, and beginners can try Navasana with modifications. You can even hold the back of your thighs with your hands to straighten your spine. You may even use a strap under the soles of your feet to straighten your back.
- Always practice this asana in the early morning hours of 4-6 am. This is when your stomach and bowels are empty and your mind is freshest.
- Practice Navasana in a space that is clean and airy. It should also not have heavy and sharp-edged objects strewn around.
- Remove all distractions like mobile phones and TV, etc. before you start practicing Navasana.
- If you are experiencing lower back issues like slip disc, etc. avoid practicing this asana.
- Be consistent with this asana. Taking too many breaks may not give you the desired benefits.
- If you have suffered from an injury in the knees, ankles, neck, or hips, avoid practicing this asana unless you heal completely.
- If you have undergone recent surgery especially in the abdomen, neck, legs, etc., avoid practicing this asana till you recuperate completely.