how to do yoga: modifying boat pose



modified boat pose
ask a yogi ambassador from lululemon

you asked

I have a broken tailbone and always feel like a flake when I can’t do Boat or other butt balancing positions. Any suggestions or props to help with that? - Catherine

a yogi answers

Boat pose is an abdominal strengthening pose, so I would suggest modifying the pose so that you are still getting the benefits of the core strengthening. Depending on what your experience is, you could bring your hands behind you to support your weight, role the weight off your tail bone by bringing your low back to the mat and work your abs from a more supported angle.
If this still bugs your tail bone, just lay all the way down and get creative with crunches, and abs from your back.
Your practice is to not worry about keeping up with the specific poses of the class that aggravate your tail bone, but finding a way to stay present and powerful in your own way!

- Kinndli, lululemon Oakville ambassador

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Ask a Yogi is a yoga advice column that is published on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. If you have a yoga question for future yoga panels, please email askanexpert@lululemon.com.

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6 Comments »


Great photo January! and great advice! It’s always great to keep going in class, even if it means doing a completely different movement/pose. Love it.

Comment by Ami — July 21, 2010 @ 7:31 am


I also have a tailbone issue. I’m very lean and bony and my tailbone is protruding so I kind of wobble when doing the boat, half boat, and such. I have found a solution in putting a small folded towel under my butt; it gives me enough cushioning and stability to perform.

Comment by Danila Koncar — July 21, 2010 @ 8:04 am


I can never seem to straighten out my legs completely in this pose because it strains my hips. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Comment by Bianca King — July 21, 2010 @ 1:14 pm


I broke my coxis (tail) bone more than once as a child which resulted in a pretty significan bony protrusion which is very painful in most sitting positions. I find that placing a folded blanket (such as Halfmoon’s India cotton blanket) under me during Navasana to be really helpful. I am able to lean back enough to really engage my abdominals and extend into the full pose.

Bianca, when out abs are weak or tired we end up asking other muscles to help us get our legs up. The strain you are feeling is likely in the iliopsoas, muscles that wrap from the thorasic part of the spine, across the front of the hip joint, connecting at the top of the femur. To take some of the work out of these muscles, really focus on scooping the belly and engaging your Uddiyana bandha. See if you can relax the front of your hips a little bit. This is the same action we want to cultivate in Dandasana, using the abdominals and not the hip flexors to keep the upper body lifted. You may need to practice navasana with bent knees until your abdominals strengthen and you get used to working the different combination of muscles.

Comment by Bigmagnum — November 27, 2010 @ 11:32 am


You can also get a yoga mat for a decent price. The mat seems to do the trick for me. I also had an issue with my tailbone … until I got a mat, and that took care of the problem. Now I can do my abs workouts comfortably.

Comment by workouts-abs — December 2, 2010 @ 1:24 am


I trained in kung fu for many years and there was a particular position that I could never do because it just caused so much pain in my lower back. However that did’nt stop me from staying strong present and powerful.
Just do something that you are comfortable with that is equally as good of a workout, stretch or whatever it is that you want to achieve.

Comment by workouts-abs — December 2, 2010 @ 1:47 am


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