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How to Do Boat Pose

How Not to Rock the Boat (Pose)

You might not think that balancing in Boat Pose would tone your abs, but it's one of the most effective yoga poses for your core. It looks simple enough, but it's easy to make this pose less effective while hurting yourself in the process. Here are three mistakes to avoid when rocking it in Boat.


Focusing too much on keeping the legs straight will cause you to shift your weight back and round the spine, which can result in back strain. Make sure to sit up as tall as you can, straighten the spine, and draw the shoulder blades together to open the heart. Bend the knees (shown in the photo below) as much as you need to in order to hold Boat with a straight back. Even though your legs aren't straight, you'll still feel it in your core.

Source: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio


When trying to lengthen the spine, you may mistake lifting your shoulders up toward your ears as added length. While it might feel like you're sitting higher, it's actually causing unnecessary strain to your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Think about lifting with the chest instead, so you can relax the shoulders back and down away from your ears.


Balancing on your backside is tough work, and you'll really feel your abs working, so much so that you forget to breathe or are worried breathing might cause you to lose your balance. Concentrate on slow, even breaths, keeping your belly still and bringing your breath into the chest to expand and contract the ribs. Focusing on deep inhales and exhalations can actually make you feel more stable.

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