How to do boat pose
Start boat pose by sitting on the floor opposite a friend or grown-up. Take off any footwear and stretch your legs out in front of you so that you can get close to one another. Hold each other’s wrists (this is more comforting than gripping hands). Put your legs inside and under your partner’s legs. Rock gently backwards then forwards. You might feel a tightness at the back of your legs as you stretch your hamstring muscles. Keep the rhythm fairly slow and steady.
You can sing ‘Row, row the boat’ to help you keep in time.
The benefits of boat pose
- Boat pose encourages social and communication skills, by moving & playing with friends
- The rocking action promotes sitting balance & posture
- Rowing back and forth provides a gentle hamstring stretch
- Core muscles, abdominal, spinal, shoulder & pelvic muscles will be activated
- Practice turn-taking
Rocking forwards and backwards in boat pose will stimulate movement senses, especially the vestibular senses as the head moves to and fro. Stimulation of the vestibular sense can directly affect ‘levels of alertness’ i.e. slow, rocking actions can be soothing and quietening in contrast to more vigorous head movements which can be intensely alerting.
Boat pose if done rhythmically, at a moderate speed (and not for too long!), can gradually raise your child’s ‘levels of alertness’, in an organising way. This makes boat pose an excellent activity for your child to do in a ‘movement break’ if they need to increase their levels of concentration for a difficult, abstract task i.e. writing or maths.
But remember not for too long, 1 minute is probably enough!
Proprioceptive ‘rich’ activities (pushing, pulling, lifting and squeezing) tend to help a child to feel more organised and grounded. The pulling movements of boat pose stimulate this sense.
A more challenging boat pose
With a friend or partner, rock further forwards and backwards and start to sway from side to side. Be careful that you both rock in time with each other and definitely do not pull too hard!
As the waves get bigger … sway side to side as well as back and forth. Talk about different boat shapes or the creatures you might see in the waves.
Solo boat pose – take a canoe!
To practice boat pose on your own, sit up straight with legs out in front. Reach forward and grasp one foot with both hands. Try wrapping one hand around the top of your foot and the other around the heel so that the knee bends and the sole of the foot turns inwards.
To ‘row’ (as if your leg were an oar), gently bring your foot towards the body and then move it away.
NOTE: It is important not to take your foot across the outstretched leg as this can cause unwanted strain.
Make it Multi-Sensory, Educational & Fun
In all our Tatty Bumpkin classes we use unique storylines to make activities and poses meaningful and to fire the imagination.
Our classes are multi-sensory, comprising of:
- Adapted yoga poses and activities which both stimulate and calm the body senses
- Dedicated songs and rhythms which are relevant to the stories
- An opportunity to express our thoughts and feelings, developing conversation & empathy skills
- Bespoke hand-woven props to look at and feel*
We have carefully linked each weekly Tatty Bumpkin adventure to the 2014 Early Years Foundation Stage (England) & the Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland).
Through the magic of a Tatty Bumpkin class, Boat pose can become both a multi-sensory and an educational activity. Tatty Bumpkin and dog will go on an adventure, over the sea, to the island of statues. On the way, they will meet some octopus friends too.
*Children Inspired by Yoga have our own range of fairly traded animal props to support the yoga poses and bring the stories to life. In addition, our teachers use a variety of natural props in the classes which provide interesting textures (as opposed to smooth plastic).