Boat Pose (Navasana)
Heading to the cottage this summer? Might find your family on a boat? Summer brings us close to the water in a great way, and kids love this yoga pose as it provides some challenge and requires balance!
The benefits of boat pose for our kids include: a strong core and spinal muscles, increased energy and stamina, strong digestion, and of course stress relief. Boat pose gives our children a chance to focus on their balance, and increases their confidence as they can easily build on the successive expressions of the pose.
Start by sitting with knees bent and feet on the ground, inner legs are 'glued' together. Arms come out long and parallel to the ground, and begin to get light on your feet. Now only your toes and seat are touching the ground (many toddlers stop here)! Next you can lift your feet so your shins eventually come to parallel to the ground with your arms alongside them. A fuller expression can have your legs straight and arms extended over head, your entire body in a large 'V' shape! What kind of boat are you? Can you bring your hands to your oars and row?
Now have fun in this pose! Maybe you're on a stormy lake and the waves are getting bigger and bigger, will your boat capsize? Or maybe you're on a very calm pond floating by some lilly pads with frogs croaking and ducks quacking. Oh no!...you're now on a rocky river and just realized a waterfall is up ahead! Finally, you are on a kayak that has just washed up on the sandy shore of a beach, you look up at the starry night sky and take a few deep breaths in and out, savouring the moment - the water is beautiful. You could also pretend to be a ship, or even a bowl, valley or nest!
Partner Boat Pose: Start boat pose by coming to sit facing a friend or family member, your toes just touching, feet and seat on the ground. Grab hold of your partner's hands, and bring the soles of your feet together. Press into your partner's feet and gently lift so both your shins are parallel to the floor and your feet are holding each other up! You can bring your holding hands inside or outside of your feet!
Family/Group Boat Pose: Create a giant ship with your family! Sit in a circle and bring your toes into a tight circle on the ground, touching the person's toes beside you. Bring your arms around the shoulders of both your neighbours. On the count of three, everyone lifts their feet up, and you've made a ship! If you have a very large group, you can do partner tree pose with each pair shoulder to shoulder and create a long ship - the fun and options are endless.
If you have another fun way that you love to do boat pose, leave a comment! I'd love to hear about it.
Here's to the long hot days and hopefully more family time,