Ardha navasana is a seated balancing posture that is a variation of navasana. It engages and strengthens the hip flexors, core and spine. The name comes from the Sanskrit, ardha, meaning “half,” nava, meaning “boat,” and asana, meaning “pose.”
In this asana, the body balances between the sit bones and the tail bone, with the spine extending straight. The feet are lifted off the ground and the knees are bent with the thighs drawn in toward the torso and the lower legs parallel to the ground. The arms extend forward, parallel to the ground and each other.
In another variation of ardha navasana, the legs remain straight, but the torso and the legs are both closer to the ground than in navasana, so the body forms a more open “V” shape. This variation is particularly effective for challenging core strength and stability.
Ardha navasana may be commonly referred to in English as half boat pose.
In addition to its physical benefits, ardha navasana is said to help relieve stress and bring the yogini’s menstrual cycle into a regular pattern. It also promotes balance and focus.
Traditionally, ardha navasana, like navasana, is associated with the solar plexus (manipura) chakra. Working with this chakra is said to help when one is lacking in confidence or feeling powerless. It can cultivate the strength to overcome fear and also restore vitality. The core work of the posture is believed to stoke the yogi’s internal fire.
Different variations of navasana and ardha navasana may be sequenced together for added stimulating and strengthening of the core.