Prep Poses for Boat Pose

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If you had told me a few years ago I would be able to wrap my hands around the bottom of my feet, I wouldn't have believed you. (Thanks, Yoga, for improving my flexibility!) But this post is not about flexibility, it’s about preparing for Boat Pose. Here you’ll find a little help for getting into Boat and some counter poses for afterwards. 
If you’re not prepping for Boat Pose, you may be missing out on your best version of the pose. Obviously, Boat Pose requires a lot of core and hip flexor strength, so those areas need to be warm... but are you thinking of the rest of the requirements for Boat? Along with Forward Fold (shown in photo), following are some effective prep poses for Boat. Also check out my blog post Boat Pose Breakdown for a detailed breakdown and photos of how to learn and progress your Boat pose, and Boat Pose No-Nos for common misalignments. 

Prep Poses: 
• Staff (Dandasana) - to focus on spinal lengthening and stability
• Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) -  to lengthen spine and hamstrings
• Chest Stretch or any Heart Opener - opens the chest to help prevent rounding of the spine during Boat
• Forward Folds (Uttanasana or Paschimottanasana) / Pyramid (Parsvottanasana) - The benefit of these poses are twofold: a deep stretch of the hamstrings and an active lengthening of the spine.••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Also, here are some counter poses for Boat… Boat Pose is pretty demanding, so it always helps to add in a counter pose or two afterwards. 

Counter poses aren't just for backbends. They make a lot of sense when you think about it. A counter pose brings balance and health back to your body. Have you ever held a pose for a while and when you came out of it, your body felt off, tight, or out of balance? Like when you hold boat pose and your hip flexors are screaming at you? Try these counter poses to bring a little balance back. 

Counter Poses:
• Butterfly (aka Bound Angle Pose, Baddha Konasana) - Stretches inners thighs; opens the hips
• Reverse Tabletop / Incline Plank (Purvottanasana) - Hip extension to counter the hip flexion; stretches chest, shoulder and hip flexors (in other words, it stretches the front of the body to counter the forward folding action of Boat)

Have fun practicing, and remember: practice makes progress!

Love & Light.

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