Eka Pada Navasana

Definition - What does Eka Pada Navasana mean?

Eka pada navasana is a basic seated asana that strengthens the abdominal muscles. The name comes from the Sanskrit, eka, meaning “one”; pada, meaning “foot” or “leg”; nava, meaning “boat”; and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”

Eka pada navasana serves as a simpler version of and a preparatory pose for navasana, in which the body forms a “V” shape balancing on the buttocks with the legs lifted and arms extended straight. In the eka pada version, one foot remains on the ground with the knee bent. In another leg variation, the bent knee drops to the side. For a deeper stretch, the grounded leg extends straight as in stick pose.

Eka pada navasana is known in English as one leg boat pose.

Yogapedia explains Eka Pada Navasana

Navasana is part of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga and is foundational in other schools of yoga because of its physical and mental benefits. In addition to building core strength, the eka pada variation is believed to improve focus and concentration.

Traditionally, the asana is thought to activate the manipura (solar plexus) chakra because of its focus on the body's core. By opening the manipura chakra through practice of eka pada navasana, the yogi gains self-esteem and a sense of power and energy. A healthy manipura chakra helps the yogi to be self-motivated and decisive.

Other variations of navasana include:

  • Ardha navasana, or half boat pose, in which both legs lift off the ground with the knees bent.
  • Eka pada salamba navasana, or supported one leg boat pose, in which one leg bends with the toes touching the ground and one leg extends, while the hands grab the back of the thighs for support.

In all variations, the drishti is on the toes of the lifted leg(s). The asanas are held for two to six breaths. In the one-legged variations, the asana is repeated for the opposite leg.

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