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Yoga Break 6: Boat Pose & Silver Needle

Boat Pose
Boat Pose
Boat Pose, or is the sweet second cousin to the Plank.

Once Planking fires up your core to become a foundation of strength, Boating will challenge that hard-won stability by forcing you to stay in place, no matter how hard your abs and sits bones may protest. When they do — and they should, as proof they they're working hard — just tell the complaining organs, "This is good for you, guys. Take your medicine."

And boy, is this medicine a good one. The tea we're pairing with Boat Pose is none other than Bai Hao Yin Zhen, or Silver Needle. This is a cream of the crop white tea. Literally. The buds have been skimmed from the top layer of the bush. Pale, soft, and eager to yield fruity flavor, Silver Needle creates a cup that requires steeping as carefully as balancing on your hind end. If the water is too hot, the caffeine will go wild and bitter up your tea. If the water isn't hot enough, then you risk under-steeping and disappointed at the lack of flavor. When sip is somewhere between white grapes and green guava, then you know you hit it right.

Your caffeine-free option is Green Rooibos Blueberry. This one is much more forgiving of steepage, which makes it excellent for beginners who need extended time while learning to maintain Boat Pose. The clean-cool taste of green rooibos and rejuvenating sensation of blueberry provide the ultimate reward for hard practice.

How to proceed?

Step 1: Prep it up. If this is your first time Yoga Break-ing, check out previous articles to get into the right state of mind and peace. Assemble your tea, utensils, drinkware, and water supply. Lay out the yoga mat. Turn on some tunes if desired. (Youtube has a wealth of meditation music if you find yourself stuck for inspiration. You can cycle between chakras and nature sounds to your heart's content, whatever gets you calm and breathing regularly.)

Step 2: Steep according to the instructions. Seriously. This is a high-class tea, so please treat it accordingly.

Step 3: Breathe.

Sit upright on the yoga mat with a gentle bend in the knees, so that your feet lie flat. When ready, raise your feet off the ground, countering the urge to fall back by reaching forward with your hands. If your feet can only make it a few inches off the ground, that's fine. If you can take them all the way out ahead of you, then that's super duper fine. A+.

Step 4. Breathe and hold as long as you can. A few seconds is a great start. Work up to a minute, then see how far your can extend your legs in that timeframe.

Repeat until you have achieved a hold time of 3 to 5 minutes, as per the steep time for Silver Needle.

Step 5: Breathe and return to sitting. Sip your well-earned tea, feeling it warm the depths of your abdominal muscles.

Cheers and peace.