Compass Pose Yoga: How To Do & Benefits

Yoga is for absolutely everyone, and one of the things that makes this possible is the vast amount of different poses so that you can find something that suits your level of skill, as well as your physical abilities and preferences. 

Compass Pose Yoga How To Do & Benefits

However, no matter how simple your pose is, one rule applies to everybody: you have to do it correctly.

Performing a pose the right way will ensure that you are safe from injury or causing accidental harm to your body, plus it means that you will be getting the most out of the pose as it is intended! 

If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, and feel that you are truly ready to try out some more advanced yoga poses, then we recommend you have a look at the compass pose.

It can help boost your energy, and it is a part of many yoga sequences (in advanced sessions), so it’s perfect for putting your skills to the test! 

In order to make sure that you understand the compass pose, and that you perform it correctly, we will tell you exactly how to do it with a step-by-step guide.

Plus, we will also talk about the benefits of this pose, just in case you’re on the fence about giving it a go or not. Let’s get right into it! 

Key Information About The Compass Pose In Yoga

Before we get into the whole process of actually getting into the compass pose, it is worth us listing some of the key information that you should be aware of. 

These are the basics of the compass pose: 

Sanskrit name: Surya Yantrasana

Level required: advanced

Position: sitting 

Type of pose: twist, side-bend, and stretch

Chakras that this pose activates: the solar plexus chakra, the sacral chakra, and the root chakra

Elements associated with this pose: fire, water, and earth

Yoga sequences this pose is commonly used with: energy boosting sequences, and daily yoga advanced sequences

Muscles this pose can benefit: the muscles most affected by the compass pose are the arms and shoulders, the middle back, the biceps and triceps, your core abdomen, the hamstrings, the hips, the quadriceps, the neck, and the pelvic muscle

Also known in its original name as the Surya Yantrasana, the compass pose is advanced, but can easily be learned through careful practice. It is essentially a sitting pose with a twist that helps open up the hips and shoulders, all while heavily engaging the hamstrings.

This pose can be used to boost your energy, which is why it is commonly included in daily sequences, especially as it can balance the flow of the energy out throughout the session! 

How To Do The Compass Pose

How To Do The Compass Pose

The compass pose isn’t exactly the most simple around, which is why it is extra important to pay attention to the instructions on how to do it properly, so that you get it right, without hurting yourself accidentally. 

Here are the steps for performing the compass pose in yoga: 

  1. Start in the Bound Angle Pose, with your spine straight. Take a few deep breaths, preparing yourself mentally.
  2. Inhale, and as you do, hold your left foot with your right hand. Your left hand should be placed on the floor, inside the left thigh (for support). When ready, lift the foot that you are holding, stretching out the leg. 
  3. Exhale deeply and twist your hip towards the right. Move your head so that it is positioned inside the right arm (the one stretched out and holding your left foot). 
  4. You will notice that muscles in your shoulder, back, and leg, are being stretched. Making sure that you respect the boundaries of your physical ability, lean into the stretch as much as you can. 
  5. Make sure that your knee isn’t bending, in order to get the most out of this pose. 
  6. Hold the pose for around four breaths. (You can hold it for less or more depending on your own physical ability, and the intention of the pose). 
  7. Release the pose, slowly, and return to the initial Bound Angle Pose. 

Benefits Of Performing The Compass Pose In Yoga

It will take you a few attempts to properly master the compass pose, but once you do it, and you notice yourself improve within it, you will start to reap some amazing benefits. 

Here are some of the main benefits that the compass pose in yoga provides you with: 

  • It stretches and strengthens your shoulders and arms
  • It opens up your hip, stretching the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings at the same time
  • It strengthens your core muscles
  • It improves your balance, which in turn help prepare you for even more advanced yoga poses
  • It enhances stability and body awareness
  • It improves your overall flexibility, bringing confidence to the yoga poses that you will practice on a regular basis
  • It boosts confidence and is known to enhance confidence and posture
  • It gently massages your internal organs, keeping them stimulated. This can also improve your digestive process

When To Avoid Doing The Compass Pose

There are times in which it is best to avoid certain yoga poses, usually when you are affected by certain physical conditions or injuries, so as to avoid making these worse or causing further harm. 

If you are affected by any of the following things, then we recommend you avoid doing the compass pose in yoga: 

  • If you have had surgery recently (you must allow for full recovery before performing this pose)
  • If you have any injury or pain on your shoulders, arms, legs, neck, abdomen, hips, or similar 
  • If you are pregnant or at a postnatal stage 
  • If you are instructed not to by your yoga teacher (they will likely have a very good reason!) 
  • If you do not have the necessary basic yoga skills 

Final Thoughts

To sum all of this up, the compass pose (also known in Sanskrit as the Surya Yantrasana), is an advanced yoga pose that is performed from a sitting position, by twisting your body and opening your hips. It is done by stretching out a leg, while you hold it with one hand, and twist your body to the side. 

When done correctly, this pose can provide many benefits, such as stretching many muscles, and strengthening your core, as well as improving your balance and overall stability. You just have to be careful, and practice it by following the exact steps. 

Laura Simmons
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