Naukasana ("Boat Pose") is a seated yoga asana. Variations include Paripurna Navasana (Sanskrit: परिपूर्णनावासन; IAST: paripūrṇanāvāsana "Full Boat Pose"), Ardha Navāsana (Sanskrit: अर्धनावासन "Half Boat Pose"), and ekapadanavasana ("one legged boat pose").
The name comes from the Sanskrit words nava meaning "boat" and asana (आसन) meaning "posture" or "seat". In its literal translation, "Boat Pose", the body could be imagined to resemble a boat, entirely balanced on the buttocks.
The body comes into a V-shape, balancing entirely on the buttocks. In different variations and traditions, the arms legs and torso may take different positions. In Paripurna Navasana, the legs and back are lifted high and arms extend forward and parallel to the ground. In Arda Navasana, hands interlace behind the neck and both back and shoulders are closer to the ground.
To come into the pose, begin seated on the floor. Bend your knees, bringing the soles of the feet to the ground, and bring the palms to the back of the thighs. Begin to lean back as your shift your weight off of your feet, eventually lifting the soles of the feet off the earth all together. Balance on your seat bones, but not so far back that you're balancing on your tailbone. Lengthen the spine to broaden and lift the chest.
The asana strengthens the abdominal muscles, the legs and the lower back. Paripurna Navasana is said to relieve stress, improve digestion and aid the lower abdominal organs: kidney, intestines, and prostate for men. It can also stimulate the thyroid. Ardha Navasana works on the upper abdominal organs: pancreas, gall bladder, spleen and liver.
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