Pose of the Month: Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana)
At first navigating through new ventures in life we may feel lost or unsure. We might externally seek a tool for direction and answers, like a compass. However, yoga teaches us to tap into our intuition and hearts for guidance instead searching outside of ourselves for answers. As we navigate our way through the physical tension of a yoga pose we innately strengthen our internal focus to help guide our way through new adventures and challenges that life always has to offer.
Physically, Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana supports hamstring, hip, shoulder and side body opening as well as core engagement and rooting down. Compass pose also combines a great twist that helps strengthen our spine and detoxes our belly organs.
First, warm your body up with some Sun Salutations, side bends, and hip openers holding for a few breaths in each asana.
When you feel properly warmed up, begin by sitting on the floor and either extending the left leg in front of your body or by bending the knee. Find a comfortable seat that allows both of your sit bones to firmly be planted on the Earth.
Next, reach your right knee towards your right arm pit and receive the right foot with both hands. Ensure that the leg is drawing in towards your right side body and the knee towards your right arm pit. Here you can find some warming movements; inhale, extend the heel and work gently towards straightening the leg to invigorate the hamstring and exhale, draw the knee back towards your arm pit. Modification: if receiving your foot is unavailable, no problem, grab a strap or any household item to loop around your foot.
Now let’s navigate together for the full expression of Compass Pose. First, there’s a sensation of grounding down through the sit bones, drawing in the belly and lifting up through the breast bone. Core engagement will help ground you down as well as lift and support your spine.
Second, begin to take your right knee towards your right shoulder. Press the leg into your shoulder engaging the inner thigh and take a few deep breaths. You can also find a few circular hip rotations by guiding the leg with your hands in a circular motion. Be mindful the rotation is coming from the hip rather than the knee.
Then, extend the right arm under the right leg letting the fingertips or palm come to the ground. Still press the leg into the shoulder and reach your externally rotated left arm over head to receive the outside of the right foot.
Here we try to shine and twist. Inhale and as you extend your right leg your chest innately will begin to rotate. Begin to peak your head through the gateway of the left arm feeling a stretch in the side body and tricep. Continue to root down, engage through the belly and find strength in a long spine. Smile and breathe.
Repeat on the other side.
Take time to whisper kind, gentle, and loving thoughts to your body. Have faith that you are not lost you are exactly where you need to be. Just like a compass, if you listen close to your hearts truth it will never lead you astray.