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Front Lying Boat Pose (supta navasana)

Back bend that develops your stamina and concentration.
 

Front Lying Boat Pose (or supta navasana) strengthens your back, with an emphasis on strengthening your lower back. This pose also helps to develop your stamina and concentration.
 
As you lift your upper body and legs off the floor in this pose, make sure you keep your upper arms beside your ears and your hips on the floor. It is more important to create length through your arms and legs than to lift them higher up off the floor. Focus on stretching your fingers away from your shoulders and your toes away from your hips as you visualize your whole body lengthening.
 
You can modify Front Lying Boat Pose by lifting only one arm and one leg, which can be a useful warm-up exercise for the full pose. This modification helps to improve your coordination and teaches the two sides of your body to work independently.
 
Take care not to compress your lower back or strain your neck or shoulders in this pose. You should also be careful performing this pose if you have abdominal, back or neck problems.
 
Steps:
Lie face down with your legs extended behind you and your feet hip width apart. Rest the top of your feet on the floor.
Stretch your arms straight in front of you, with your palms facing down.
Rest your forehead on the floor.
Exhale as you press your hips and pelvis into the floor and then stretch both legs behind you.
Inhale as you lift your arms, chest, head and both legs up.
Reach out through your fingers, toes and the crown of your head. Keep your head in line with your spine.
(Lengthen through your torso, arms and legs.)
(Make sure both hips remain on the floor and your legs are straight, but your knees are not locked.)
Hold the pose for 5 to 30 seconds.
To come out of the pose, exhale as you lower your upper body and legs to the floor. Then turn your head to one side and rest your cheek on the floor.
(After performing Front Lying Boat Pose, you should perform a forward bend, such as Child's Pose, to release your lower back.)
 
Modification:
You can perform Front Lying Boat Pose with only one arm and leg raised. Begin the pose with your right arm at your side and your left arm extended in front of you, both palms facing down. Inhale as you raise your left arm, chest, head and right leg off the floor. Then exhale as you lower your arm, chest, head and leg. Repeat the modification for your other arm and leg.
 
How can I open my chest in this pose?
Interlace your fingers behind your back and then press your shoulder blades together. Then lift your arms up as you lift your chest, head and legs off the floor.
 
How can I build strength in my back so I can hold the pose longer?
You can come in and out of the pose a few times before you hold the pose to strengthen your back so you can hold the pose longer.
 
My shoulders feel strained in this pose. What can I do?
You can place your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing the floor. As you raise your chest and legs, lift your arms so they are parallel to the floor and look straight ahead. You can also lift your arms to shoulder height and out to your sides, like the wings of an airplane, as you raise your chest and legs. This modification also helps to open your chest.
 
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