Seated Boat Pose strengthens your abdomen, lower back and hips, while stretching the back of your legs. Strengthening your abdominal muscles can help protect your lower back and spine. This pose is also beneficial for improving your balance. Despite the effort and many actions involved, finding stability in this posture can hep calm and align your body, mind and emotions.
Good pose for developing overall stamina.
Begin in seated Staff Pose/Dandasana and place your hands on the floor slightly behind your hips, fingers pointing toward your feet. Life your chest toward the ceiling as you lean back slightly. Make sure your back/spine remain straight. Lift your chest towards the ceiling as you lean back slightly.
Bend your knees and place your feet together, flat on the floor, thighs should be at a 45 degree angle with the floor then come up on your toes.
Life your feet one or two inches off the floor(maybe one at a time), keeping your feet/legs together or slightly apart. Then lift higher until shins are parallel to the floor (can then hold on to the back of the thighs with your hands).
Balance between your sit bones and your tailbone.
Inhale and slowly release the hold and straighten the arms parallel to the floor, displaying your fingers on either side of your hips.
If you want more of a challenge you can begin to straighten the legs until the tips of your toes are slightly above your eye level keeping the arms at shoulder height, parallel to the floor.
Relax and keeping the shoulders down from your ears, opening across your back. lift at the heart center.
Check the stomach muscles, make sure that have not tensed, breath and draw the belly button back towards the spine while lifting the chest.
Lengthen the back of your neck by slightly tilting the chin toward the chest.
Hold and breath. Visualize the body forming a V shape.
Physical Benefits: Builds core strength. Improves balance, digestion, and circulation. Strengthens the legs, hips, groin, abdomen and arms. Lengthens the spine and neck. Opens the chest, shoulders and throat. Improves posture especially better sitting posture. Stimulates the kidney, thyroid, prostate and the intestines.Can be beneficial for Sciatica, lumbago, colitis, constipation, irregular menstrual cycle and lethargy.
Mental Benefits: Improves concentration and develops focus.
Counter Pose: Forward fold either seated or supine/Knees to Chest/Apanasana
Adaptations/Variations: Stretching the inner thighs can be done by separating the legs until they form a V shape.
A very basic adaptation is with the forearms on the mat next to the body, palms down, with the elbows slightly behind the line of the shoulders.
One can also use a strap over the feet held with the hands and straight arms.
Can be done sitting on a cushion.
Contraindication: May need to be avoided if you have a heart condition or insomnia as this pose can be stimulating. Pregnancy (keep knees bent). Neck or low back pain / injury (keep knees bent). Low blood pressure and menstruation