To make the most of any kind of exercise routine – be it running, cycling or Cross-Fit – it’s essential to have strong cores that can support the entire body through the workout. At the same time, working out the core muscles requires plenty of effort and coordination, as well a certain degree of flexibility.

Practicing the Paripurna Navasana—also known as the Full Boat Pose—is an excellent way to achieve core strength and overall stability. Most people assume that it’s similar to crunches, but it takes a while to achieve the sense of balance that the pose demands. The Full Boat Pose is a great workout for your lower back, abs and legs—and also improves your metabolism, making it an effective fat burner.

Step-by-step:

  • Sit with your knees bent, feet on floor, and hands placed lightly behind you.
  • Lengthen the spine, draw the stomach in and widen the collar bones to open the chest.
  • Lean back and lift your feet up, bringing the shins level with the floor.
  • Maintaining the lift through the spine and keeping the chest open, extend your arms forward but parallel to the floor.
  • When possible straighten the legs out, still keeping the lift through the spine. Hold the pose for about 8-10 seconds and then release.

Pro-tip:
As a beginner, you can use a strap around the soles of your feet to help straighten your legs and hold the Paripurna Navasana pose for longer. As you move into the pose, push your feet against the strap and keep it taut. Women who are menstruating or pregnant should not attempt this pose. Those with low BP, or knee, hip, shoulder, or arm injury should exercise caution while doing this asana. If you’ve recently undergone abdominal surgery, check with your physician before trying this.

Benefits:

  • Tones and firms your abs
  • Stretches your hamstrings
  • Strengthens your spine and hip flexors
  • Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines. Improves balance and digestion.
  • Aids in stress relief and improves confidence.

Main image: Yoganonymous.com

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