I mean, I know yoga asanas are named after something that looks vaguely like them. We all know eagle pose doesn’t look a bit like any eagle we’ve seen. So why not complement boat pose with the mast that it’s missing… and in the process update it to a more abdominal-strength enhancing position?
To do the Ab-Core Boat Pose, you must be able to do the conventional Boat pose. Boat means sitting on your sitting bones, leaning back and bringing your legs and upper body each to a 45 degree angle… and your arms parallel to the floor, as though they were the top of the hull. If you can’t balance in that position or lack the abdominal strength to do it, then please skip this pose.
If you’re good to go, though, here’s Ab-Core Boat:
1. Sit cross-legged and hug your shoulders, right arm on top, as pictured. Your back shoudl be lifted and your breath easy and unfettered.
2. Keeping your elbows nested, lift the forearms and entwine them as pictured. If you’re familiar with Eagle pose, this is the arms/upper body portion of Eagle.
3. Lean back on your sitting bones and lift your legs and your trunk as pictured. Keep lifting your elbows away from your body and your hands away from your face. In order to keep your back straight, you have to engage very strongly through your abdominal core. Breathe. Because this position is more demanding than Boat, you may only be able to stay initially for one or two long breaths. That’s okay. If you are stronger, aim for 3-5 long breaths. Remember to keep your back straight with strong abdominal engagement or instead of strengthing your abs, you can over-stress your back. When you come out of this position, rest on your back with your knees bent for five slow breaths. Then repeat with the opposite arm on top.
Benefits: Builds your balance, stamina and abdominal strength. Stretches your shoulders. Temporarily overloads your low back, which then releases deeper tensions after you emerge from the pose into the resting position.
Avoid if: Your low back hurts, or your tailbone hurts, or you’re simply not able to find your balance. In case of low back hurting, discontinue immediately.
Final thoughts: If your mind’s anything like mine, you probably are thinking, “Okay, we got the sail in Boat Pose now, but we lost the hull… Shouldn’t this be Barge Pose?”