The Journey from the Periphery to your Center

You've probably heard or experienced that doing full boat pose builds abdomen strength – It’s a muscular intensity that can be felt immediately. But in yoga, the "core" refers to more than just abdominal muscles. This practice of fiery engagement and discipline leads you on an inward journey from the periphery of your body to the core of your being.

This inward journey of coordinating the work of your limbs and your torso while strengthening your spine will also teach you about your breath, your attention span, your emotions, and your very nature. Eventually, this simple in yet challenging pose can penetrate beyond the muscles, nerves, bones, and organs to your Self—your innermost core.

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Navasana (boat pose)

is a compact pose that requires you to draw everything toward your center:

The abdomen moves toward the spine, the spine moves forward to support the front of the trunk, the shoulder blades move down and in toward the chest, while the chest spreads, and the arms and legs stay firm. The integration of all of your body parts in Full Boat Pose will leave you feeling strong and supple as well as mentally and emotionally steady.

But if your mind happens to wander while in this pose (although highly unlikely!), the inner firmness you've cultivated will waver, resulting in losing your balance. So, to find your inner core and stability in the pose, keep your face soft and your breath smooth. The idea is that when your brain is tense and your eyes bulge, your focus becomes external. When your facial features recede, however, your attention draws inward, and you can find stability again. In essence, every asana (pose) possesses a lesson that can facilitate a better understanding of who we are and who we have the potential to become.