Yoga for Fitness

Yoga for fitness poses will work your entire body, burn fat, and tone muscle. Include these poses into your daily routine for overall improvements in strength and fitness.

Boat Pose

An ab and deep hip flexor strengthener, Paripurna Navasana requires you to balance on the tripod of your sitting bones and tailbone.

Boat Pose

Step by Step

Step 1

Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands on the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet, and strengthen the arms. Lift through the top of the sternum and lean back slightly. As you do this make sure your back doesn’t round; continue to lengthen the front of your torso between the pubis and top sternum. Sit on the “tripod” of your two sitting bones and tailbone.

Step 2

Exhale and bend your knees, then lift your feet off the floor, so that the thighs are angled about 45-50 degrees relative to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone into the floor and lift your pubis toward your navel. If possible, slowly straighten your knees, raising the tips of your toes slightly above the level of your eyes. If this isn’t possible remain with your knees bent, perhaps lifting the shins parallel to the floor.

Step 3

Stretch your arms alongside the legs, parallel to each other and the floor. Spread the shoulder blades across your back and reach strongly out through the fingers. If this isn’t possible, keep the hands on the floor beside your hips or hold on to the backs of your thighs.

Step 4

While the lower belly should be firm, it shouldn’t get hard and thick. Try to keep the lower belly relatively flat. Press the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the top sternum. Breathe easily. Tip the chin slightly toward the sternum so the base of the skull lifts lightly away from the back of the neck.

Step 5

At first stay in the pose for 10-20 seconds. Gradually increase the time of your stay to 1 minute. Release the legs with an exhalation and sit upright on an inhalation.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Paripurna Navasana

Pose Level

1

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Heart Problems
  • Insomnia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Neck injury: Sit with your back near a wall to perform this pose. As you tilt your torso back rest the back of your head on the wall.

Modifications and Props

  • Often it’s difficult to straighten the raised legs. Bend your knees and loop a strap around the soles of your feet, gripping it firmly in your hands. Inhale, lean the torso back, then exhale and lift and straighten your legs, adjusting the strap to keep it taut. Push the feet firmly against the strap.

Deepen the Pose

Full Boat is often presented as an abdominal strengthener, which it is to a certain extent. But more importantly this pose strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Learn to anchor the heads of the thighs bones deep in the pelvis and lift from that anchor through the front spine. Remember that the lower front belly should never get hard.

Preparatory Poses

Follow-up Poses

Beginner’s Tip

You can practice a preparation for this pose periodically throughout your day without even leaving your chair. Sit on the front edge of a seat with your knees at right angles. Grab onto the sides of the seat with your hands and lean slightly forward. Firm your arms and lift your buttocks slightly off the seat, then raise your heels slightly off the floor (but not the balls of your feet). Let the heads of your thigh bones sink into the pull of gravity and push the top of your sternum forward and up.


Dolphin Plank Pose

A modification of Plank Pose, Dolphin Plank Pose strengthens and tones the core, thighs, and arms.


forearm plank

Dolphin Plank Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Start in dolphin pose , knees bent. Then walk your feet back until your shoulders are directly over the elbows and your torso is parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Press your inner forearms and elbows firmly against the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and spread them away from the spine. Similarly spread your collarbones away from the sternum.

Step 3

Press your front thighs toward the ceiling, but resist your tailbone toward the floor as you lengthen it toward the heels. Lift the base of your skull away from the back of the neck and look straight down at the floor, keeping the throat and eyes soft.

Step 4

Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Then, release your knees to the floor with an exhale.

Pose Information

Pose Level

1

Contraindications and Cautions

Shoulder injuries, support torso on a bolster; neck injuries, support forehead on a block

Preparatory Poses

Follow-up Poses

Beginner’s Tip

Relieve any neck tension by resting your forehead on a block set between your forearms.

Benefits

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches
  • Strengthens the arms and legs, and core
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
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