[Pose Of the Week] Deepen Your Flexibility & Patience with Compass Pose (Advanced)

Get ready for an intense stretch – both physically and mentally – with Compass Pose…

Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana) – also known as Revolved Sundial Pose – is an advanced-level yoga pose that requires quite a bit of flexibility in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders in order to perform the full pose. If you are not flexible enough to perform this pose yet, don’t give up! Just work on gradually lengthening your muscles and increasing your flexibility, and remember that much of the value in each pose lies in the journey rather than the full achievement.

Compass pose offers an extreme opening in the hips, and also helps to stretch the obliques, hamstrings, spine, and shoulders – improving posture and alignment, reducing stress, relieving headaches, improving spinal mobility, and allowing for more flexibility and less tension and stiffness in the back and throughout the lower body.

Learning Compass pose has mental and emotional benefits as well, as it helps us to learn patience, appreciate the present moment, and learn to accept our limitations.

Before performing Compass pose, make sure you are fully warmed up by performing a number of hamstring, hip, and shoulder-opening poses such as Lizard, Fire Log, and Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold.

Be careful to keep your spine straight during the pose, and don’t roll too far back and let your spine round forward. If you need to modify the pose, you can bend your knee, or use a yoga strap around the lifted foot. (Once you’ve mastered the pose, for an extra challenge, try Standing Compass or Sundial Pose.)

Be sure to listen to your body and move slowly. Don’t force anything – this pose cannot be forced, and you will only achieve the full pose with lots of practice!

How to Do It:

  1. Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position.
  2. Breathe in and bend your right knee, hugging it into your chest. You may leave your left leg bent or straighten it in front of you.
  3. Lift your right leg with your left hand. Thread your right arm underneath your right knee, bringing the right fingertips to the floor outside of your right hip. Breathe slowly and steadily as you focus on sitting tall, lengthening your spine and staying upright as you move into this position.
  4. Use your left hand to position your right knee as high up on the right arm as possible. The goal is to get the right knee to align behind the right shoulder with your right leg straight.
  5. Bring your left hand to the outside edge of your right foot. Begin to straighten your right leg as you stretch your left arm back behind your head.
  6. Look up toward your left arm, keeping your spine upright. Take three to five deep breaths here as you hold the pose.
  7. Release the pose carefully, exhaling as you guide your right leg back down slowly with your left hand before repeating to the other side.  (See video here for a demonstration.)
Read more at VeryWellFit.com


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