Friday, September 28, 2012

Navasana or "Boat Pose"

Hello fellow blog-readers:

I’m so sorry that I have not kept a constant blog for you all to read this past summer. In my attempt to make amends for my flaky blogging, I offer a commitment to a constant blog that will come out weekly on Fridays. As in life, my blog has evolved into a new more mature being. As a yoga teacher, I’ve decided that The Elegant Klutz blog will now focus on as much information about a specific exciting yoga pose, include an alternative mind body form of the pose, and finally offer a healthy recipe to enjoy upon conquering the pose. The information about the pose comes from sources, which I have listed for your own perusal, and my own experiences with the pose. I hope you enjoy the constantly maturing Elegant Klutz.

Chauncey “ChaCha”

Sanskrit: Paripurna Navasana                                      Western Term: Boat Pose

Origin of Word = Paripurna: full, nau: boat

Type of Asana: Sitting Pose

How To:
1.     Start in dandasana (staff pose-with legs extended out in front of you, feet flexed grounded into the sits bones)
2.     Exhale to lower the back about 30 degrees and legs about 60 degrees; at the same time raise arms to shoulder level stretched toward the legs
3.     Balance on the front of the sits bones. Lift the chest and look toward the feet, but do not tense the abs. I often feel off balanced when I first try to balance on my sits bones. It helps me to balance by inhaling deeply and focusing on expanding my chest/heart chakra open towards my feet and the sky.
4.     Stay 20-30 seconds breathing in and out evenly before coming down. Keeping the breath even also helps balance the body and mind in difficult poses rather than sending your body into alert and losing balance. 

Body Points:
*keep arms parallel to the floor
*lower back lifting
*breath (every yoga teacher says it about a million times a class, but there’s a reason for that- it’s important and breath actually helps calm the body, even in moments when your muscles may be screaming for the opposite of relaxation)

Emphasized Body Parts: abdomen/core, hip flexor, and spine
The core strength that we build in Navasana helps yogis support our lower backs. In yoga “core” is more than the physical abs. B.K.S Iyengar says: “practice leads you on an inward journey from the periphery of your body to the core of your being.”

Mental Achievements: determination, stamina, and boldness of spirit
Your spirit may become as bold as Tina Fey’s persistence to express herself through dorkalicious dance moves like in 30 Rock. Don’t understand that reference, click below and you will:

Damn Tina Fey can dance. And yeah…that’s bold spirited.

An aid for beginners: kramas or levels of a pose give us yogis with various levels options. For any given pose, there are various levels of difficulty. This krama that I offer is for beginners to the pose: keep arms on the floor until legs and trunk are balanced. Go in and out of the pose with bent legs. Don’t get down on yourself for being in a beginner state. We all need various levels of intensity depending on the given day.

Chakra: Boat pose engages your third yellow chakra called Manipura. Confidence, energy, and strength are found in the third chakra. Each chakra has a “seed sound” or bija mantra which engages the essence of the chakra. While in third chakra poses like boat pose repeat the mantra “ram” to ignite the fire within. Personally, I encourage you to try this audible mantra while at home in a private practice rather than a group yoga class as to not disturb your neighbors.

Ancient Sanskirt Proverb: “Person with enthusiasm is a powerful one. There is no power equal to will power. For a person with enthusiasm and will power there is nothing difficult.”

Element: Fire is the element found in the third chakra and ignited while in boat pose.

The burning sensation in your abs may feel like fire-a helpful reminder of the element associated with the pose. Don’t worry! With time, the pose will get better and help build your strength and confidence, not only physically, but also mentally as you take these lessons from the mat out into the world.

Alternative: If yoga isn’t your preferred mind body practice, pilates is an alternative that has similar poses to yoga. In pilates the boat pose equivalent is called “the teaser.” The teaser is very similar to navasana but rather than holding the pose, it is about sequential movement in and out of the pose. Boat pose is holding the pose. 

Yoga's  Navasana or "Boat Pose"

The teaser is movement.

Pilates' "Teaser Pose"

Both yoga and pilates have their own benefits, so get out and try both. Find what works for you and cultivate your inner and outer strength.

After an intense practice, the fire in your belly will most likely rev up your metabolism and leave you rather hungry, maybe even ravenous. Here is a guilt-free recipe that I created. It’s easy to whip up and delicious.

Ingredients: Quinoa, Spinach, Sundried Tomatoes, Potatoes, Onion, Garlic, Olive Oil, Salt, & Pepper
1.     Boil quinoa in water for 15-20 minutes
2.     Cook spinach, sundried tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in large frying pan (takes about 5-10 minutes)
3.     Add quinoa to large to allow vegetable juice and flavors to absorb into quinoa and stir (5-7 minutes)
4.     Add parmesan, salt, & pepper on top as preferred
*If you’re a meat eater, add bacon crumbled on top. You can add bacon to the frying pan with quinoa and veggies to allow bacon flavor to absorb.

Namaste until next Friday! 


Cummins, Claudia. Viewed 9/25/12.

Degenhardt, Benjamin. Viewed 9/25/12.

Mira, Sylva & Mehta, Shyam. “Yoga the Iyengar Way: the new definitive illustrated guide.” Forwarded by B.K.S. Iyengar. US, New York: 2010. Page 58.

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