You wouldn't think balancing in Boat Pose would tone your abs, but it's one of the most effective yoga poses for your core. It looks simple enough, but there are many ways you can do this pose incorrectly that will not only make the move less effective, but could also end up hurting you. Here are three mistakes to avoid when rocking it in Boat.
Rounding the spine: You're working so hard to straighten your legs that you end up shifting your weight back and rounding your spine to make it happen. It's not only tough to balance in this position, but you're not really targeting your abs, and could end up straining your back. Make sure to sit up as tall as you can, straightening the spine, and bending the knees as much as you need to in order to hold Boat with a straight back. Even though your legs aren't straight, you'll still feel it in your core.
Scrunching the shoulders: While trying to focus on lengthening your spine, you try to gain some height by lifting your shoulders up toward your ears. You might feel like you're sitting higher, but it's actually causing unnecessary strain to your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Think about lifting with the chest instead, so you can relax the shoulder blades back and down away from your ears.
Holding your breath: Balancing on your backside is tough work, and you'll really feel your abs working, so much so that you forget to breathe or are worried breathing might cause you to lose your balance. Concentrate on slow, even breaths, keeping your belly still and bringing your breath into the chest to expand and contract the ribs. Focusing on deep inhales and exhalations can actually make you feel more stable.