As a yoga instructor, dedicated yoga practitioner and a mother, I often get asked if there is one singular posture in yoga that will help firm the muscles in the core abdominal region. This question is often posed to me by moms looking to get rid of their post-baby belly. And for someone, who practiced yoga throughout the nine months of my pregnancy and relied on nothing but yoga, breastfeeding and a healthy diet to get me back into my pre-baby shape, my answer is quite simply: Boat pose or navasana.
Appropriately named for a boat that steadies its anchor amid turbulent waters, navasana not only strengthens the muscles in your stomach region but it also tones your legs, shoulders and back muscles. And it accomplishes all of this as you remain focused and relaxed in this intense balancing posture.
Rather than have me spell out to you how to move in and out of boat posture, here is a great video that will say it all.
Just remember these things as you perform this posture:
1) As always, keep your breath slow and steady. Breathe in and out completely through your nose.
2) If you find your legs are shaking, bend them slightly at the knee.
3) Make sure that you keep lifting up through your sternum as you draw your shoulders away from your ears.
4) Draw out through the inner seams of your leg and draw the outer edge of your legs and thighs back to your pelvis.
5) Keep your gaze looking beyond the tip of your nose.
Most of all, have fun with this posture. If you find yourself wrestling with other thoughts that come or with the sheer intensity of the posture, bring your focus back to your breath and remember what it is like to be on a boat that glides effortlessly in the middle of the night amid turbulent waters.