In the Ashtanga yoga primary series you do yoga boat pose (Navasana) five times in a row (holding each for five breaths) and lifting up in between each one, and without resting (ideally.)
An alternative approach, particularly if want to work at intelligent hip flexor and quad control , is to practice Navasana, or boat pose, one leg at a time.
Sitting upright, reach your arms forwards and lean back while keeping your heels touching the floor. Pull one knee to your chest keeping the other heel touching the floor. Keep your ribcage still and focus on lifting the foot and then slowly pulling the lifted knee as close to your chest as possible. Pause, lower and then do the other side.
I'd suggest about 5 reps for each leg and work at gradually increasing the hold time. To give your hip flexors a break (and to stretch them out) you can do table top pose.
Next, repeat the exercise but this time after lifting the foot, straighten the knee. Release and switch sides. Here again work towards 5 reps. Work at keeping the knee close to your chest as you straighten it. Then work at gradually increasing hold time with knee straight.
Because the psoas, which attaches the femur to the lumbar spine, can both flex the hip and help twist the lumbar spine, try both adding a twist either towards the lifted leg or away from it, both with knee bent and with knee straight.
For example, first do the knee to the chest option and after lifting the knee turn your ribcage away from your lifted knee. Lower and repeat with the other leg, turning away from the lifted knee. After table top, do the knee straightening option and this time turn towards from the lifted foot.
Another option for boat pose is to use your hands to help. First straighten the knee. Pause and then grab your leg with both hands and use arm strength to pull the leg inwards while you relax your hip muscles. Then re-engage the hip muscles and release your hands. You can also do this with the knee bent option.
Using both legs at the same time you can practice yoga boat pose as follows. First lean back and reach your arms forwards. Keep your heels lightly touching the floor. Next lift your heels an inch off of the floor. Pause. Then lift the shins so that they are horizontal. Here again you can pause. Then straighten your knees. Work at gradually extending the length of time in each position, particularly the final one.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Sensational yoga poses, lessons to help you enjoy the experience of your body.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
These seated yoga poses have been organized into a rough routine and include lotus, virasana, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
Sensational Yoga ebooks and videos are designed to help you experience your body while focusing on specific poses, actions or parts of the body.
Extreme stability teaches you how to work from the ground up when creating stability, whether you are doing poses on your hands or your feet (or some combination of both).
The working towards wheel pose ebook teaches you basic body first so that you can feel and control your spine, hips and shoulders, so that working towards difficult poses (in this case wheel pose) is easier.
The Muscle control for better flexibility ebook teaches you simple muscle activation techniques that can make it easier to improve your flexibility. Techniques focus on forward and back bending the hips but can be applied to other movements also.
Building up on the material for part 1, Yoga for Beginners 2 teaches you how to make your body stable for a slightly different experience of your hips and shoulders.
Video: This set of simple hip control exercises help you to stabilize the hip joint and control it. You may find these exercises help you improve hamstring and hip flexor strength and flexibility.
One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.
Some of the exercises in Balance Basics includes learning to balance on the fronts of your feet as well as on one foot using weight shifting exercises. It also includes exercises for crow pose. I've included videos based on the balanace exercises in the book on this page.