Naukasana, Navasana - The Boat
Matsya protecting the Manu and the seven sages at the time of Deluge (Ramanarayanadatta astri)
Nauka (naukā, नौका): (Small) boat, skiff. From नौ nau: f. ship; boat, skiff. gr. ναυς; lat navis, fr. nef, navire.
Note: This posture should etymologically be called nauasana. It is often called naukasana.
The row-boat includes several series. All of them are very demanding on the muscles of the abdominal girdle, and those of the back.
In this series, the starting position is lying down on the stomach. The hands are touching the thighs. The head is tilted forward and touch the ground through the chin. The eyelids are open and the eyes fix a point. The willpower and all the energies are mobilized by focusing on the abdominal belt.
During an exhalation, the trunk, arms and legs are raised backward. The height is determined by muscle strength and time desired to hold the posture.
Hold the position and practice the energy work. During an exhalation, the body comes back to the ground. Bring the hands under the forehead, extend the left hand on the ground, palm facing up, make a fist with the right hand and put the right hand in the left palm. Rest the forehead on the right hand.
In this position, Mula Bandha must be strongly activated. It is the cork of the energy steered throughout the body. The ocular gaze must be intense and serves as a genuine support. The breathing follows Visamavritti. The control of the breathing is primordial. If the basic 1/4/2/0 rhythm cannot be followed, the lower 1/2/2/0 rhythm can be adopted. The cycle should cover two minutes at least. With time, rhythms such as 3/6/12/0, 4/16/8/0 should be attained. In the intermediary, rhythms such as 3/6/6/0 and 4/8/8/0 can be adopted.
The starting position is that of Series 1. The body, legs and arms are raised during the exhalation again as in Series 1. Then, in the following inhalation, the arms rotate horizontally, and end up stretched forward, with thumbs linked one with the other.
Then, in the following inhalation, the arms rotate horizontally, and end up stretched forward, with thumbs linked one with the other.
Hold the position and practice the energy work for 2 minutes. During an exhalation, the body comes back to the ground. Bring the hands under the forehead, extend the left hand on the ground, palm facing up, make a fist with the right hand and put the right hand in the left palm. Rest the forehead on the right hand.
Activate the abdominal bhastrika. Feel the energy carried by the breathing that brings tonus and lightness. In this breathing, the abdominal movement, even if constrained by the posture, must be carried normally. The body should rock slightly, without exaggeration. Bhastrika is practiced for about 1 minute.
Then, during a full and complete inhalation, enter full-lung retention during a maximal time, without compromising the posture. During the following exhalation, switch to energy work described in Series 1 for an additional minute.
The starting point is sitting with the legs stretched forward. The hands rest on the ground at the level of the knees. The eyelids are open and the eyes fix a real or virtual point.
During an exhalation, the legs are raised and the trunk tilts backward.
The final position is reached when the arms are extended at the horizontal while the eyes fix a point through the knees. Practice the energy work.
During a final exhalation, come back to the starting position. Let the breathings stabilize. Assume the posture one more time. Then, assume the integration posture and focus on the energetic effects.
Note: The closer the angle formed by the body, the more powerful the posture. This series is much more powerful than the previous ones and the locks are important. In addition, this posture is practiced solely in the intensity. There is no time to respect as this depends on the possibilities of the yogi/yogini.
Same technique as Series 3. This series brings the hands behind the neck, with shoulders well spread.
This advanced position requires the same energy work as that of series 4. The legs position differ in that they are placed in the lotus.