When the direction of our attention is fixed on Divinity, we will arrive there eventually but inevitably.
The practice and experience of this asana realigns us with our innermost purpose, the reason we exist. The Taittriya Upanishad proclaims Love as the source of all. From love all has come and unto love all shall return.
Sometimes we seek love in all the wrong places because we have lost our direction and do not know where we are, who we are, or where we are going. This is sometimes referred to as the cycle of rebirth, or samsara. Over many lifetimes of following wrong directions or going around in circles, we may loose our ability to tune our instrument, which results in feeling perpetually out of alignment. This can cause various forms of confusion, disease and general malaise.
The Divine is like a powerful magnet, that is continuously attracting our soul, and yet we resist – sometimes for lifetimes. But eventually we remember the bliss from which we have emerged. We surrender our resistance and allow grace to enrapture us, and we move effortlessly toward our source with our whole being.
The American Heritage as well as the Oxford English dictionaries define the word Compass as a device used to determine geographic direction, showing the direction of magnetic north and drawing from it and as a device for drawing circles, to encircle, or to surround. It is also interesting to consider that the next word found listed in these dictionaries, after compass is ‘compassion’. Once we re-discover our purpose and our direction and are able to embody that purpose, than the only thing left to concern ourselves with is to enlarge our being to encompass or encircle all others in the joyful circle of life recognizing all other beings as our own self.
The practice: Start in baddhakonasana, and shift your weight onto the left buttock as you pick up your right leg and move your right shoulder under your right bent knee, draping your right leg over your right shoulder. Sit down, equalizing the weight on both buttocks. Grab the outside of your right foot with your left hand as you press firmly down into the floor with your right palm. Inhale, and extend your right leg, pointing your right foot, pulling it back behind your head, extend your left leg on the floor, as you twist to the left and spin your chest upward toward the sky. This is known as “the compass seat“: konasana. Let go of your right foot and extend your left arm back to grab your left wrist with your right hand and press your left palm into the floor, twisting more to the left, spinning as well as lifting your chest toward the sky. Bend both knees and touch the tips of your toes together, as you turn your head to the right, continue to press your left palm to the floor as you hold your left wrist with your right hand, balancing on both buttocks. This is known as balancing compass or konasana balance. Now release your left wrist, and press your right hand on the floor, shifting your weight onto your left buttock. Once again, take hold of the outside of your right foot with your left hand. As you inhale strongly and simultaneously extend your left leg pressing the outside of the left foot on the floor as you also extend your right leg as you twist to the left and look up toward the infinite sky. This is known as extended balancing compass or visvamitrasana. Release and repeat to the other side.
Note: refer to pages 130-131 of the Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul for detailed pictorial instruction for Balancing