Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana): How to Do, Benefits, Variation

Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana)
Image Source: Canva
Sanskrit PronunciationParivrtta Surya Yantrasana
(Par-ee-vrt-tah SUR-yuH Yan-truh-AHS-anah )
MeaningParivrtta = revolved, / Surya = Sun / Yantra= instrument /asana = pose
Pose TypeSitting and twisting side-bend
Pose LevelAdvanced
AnatomyArms, shoulders, Middle Back, neck, core, hips, hamstrings, and pelvic muscles
Other NamesCompass Pose, revolved sundial pose
Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana information

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is an advanced seated pose that opens the shoulders and hips while twisting the torso. It deepens the coordination between the body and mind.

This pose works as a full body workout benefitting the body on physical as well as spiritual levels.

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    The Sanskrit name Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is literally translated in English as revolved solar instrument pose. Here, the term “revolved” signifies the twisted or revolved torso, solar instrument is referring to a compass.

    Compass pose symbolic significance further clarifies its meaning as the body in this asana symbolizes a compass guiding the practitioner closer to his/her physical and spiritual practice.


    Compass Pose Practice guide

    Image Source: Canva


    • Avoid this pose if you are having a back, neck or knee injury.
    • Don’t try it with a hip or shoulder dislocation and an injury around the groins or hamstrings.
    • Skip its practice in case of slipped disc or sciatica.
    • Women must avoid Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana during pregnancy and in postnatal stages.

    Preparatory poses

    How to Do Compass Pose (Steps)

    Compass Pose how to do
    Image source: Canva
    1. Begin with sitting in ardha padmasana placing the right leg above the left.
    2. Lifting your right leg wrapping the right arm around the right foot and left arm around the shin.
    3. Opening the hips draw the right leg outside holding the foot with the right hand.
    4. Now, raise the right leg and rest the right knee over the right shoulder.
    5. Grab the right foot with the left hand by extending the left arm behind the head.
    6. Extend the right arm pressing the right palm to the floor under the right leg.
    7. Lift the right knee from the right shoulder and grabbing the foot with left hand straighten the right leg upward with pointed toes and active arches
    8. Recline slightly towards the right and twist the torso and neck to the left.
    9. Try to look upward beyond the left triceps.
    10. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths and then bending the right knee to come out of the pose. Repeat it by switching the leg position.

    Follow-up Poses

    Beginner’s Tip

    If you are struggling too hard to hold the lifted foot with an alternate hand to stretch the leg in compass pose, then use a yoga strap.

    Wrap a strap around the foot and hold it with the hand to stretch the leg upward. This will add extra length to the hand and make the stretch possible.

    Compass Pose Variation

    Practice following compass pose variation to deepen the pose stretch.

    1. Standing compass pose

    This is an advanced variation, as performed while standing taking tadasana as base. From here, fold the torso forward to tuck the right shoulder under right knee. Passing the left arm around the back, clasp the right wrist with left hand behind the back. Now, lift the right leg and extend it forward keeping the back straight.


    2. Reclining compass pose

    For this pose, sit with left leg extended straight and lift the right leg tucking the knee on the corresponding shoulder. Place both the hands on the floor behind the back. This is followed by lifting the hips off the floor and leaning backward bending the left knee and extending the right leg on the back

    3. Holding the leg with corresponding hand

    In this variant, one leg (say left) is folded at the knee and the foot is placed on the alternate (right) thigh. However, the right leg is externally rotated and lifted with toes pointing up. The right leg is held by the right hand around the calf or ankle while the left arm is kept straight with palm pressed on the floor.

    4. Infinity Pose

    For infinity pose, sit in straddle pose and then bend one of your knees closer to the chest. Now bend laterally towards the outstretched leg and the top hand is extended from behind the head to hold the foot. Twist the torso to look upward and try to hold the bent shin from the lower hand.

    Compass Pose Benefits

    1. Strengthens the arms

    Holding this pose by extending the arms to hold the lifted leg and balancing the body stretches the muscles both the shoulders, arms, and wrists. It tones the arm muscles and enhances the arm strength.

    2. Enhances spinal flexibility

    The twisting action of the torso and neck along with maintaining back integrity stretches the back muscles. It improves the blood supply to the entire back muscles. thereby, enhancing the elasticity in the spinal column.

    3. Opens hip flexors

    Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is an excellent hip-opener. It stretches the gluteus maximus, hamstring muscles, and deepens the stretch in the hips. It opens the psoas muscles and improves hip flexibility.

    4. Provide stronger limbs

    The leg muscles are toned entirely holding this pose. It stretches the thighs, knees, calves, and ankles. Even the arches are activated while getting into final position. Hence, it strengthens the leg muscles and prepare them for more challenging poses.

    5. Boosts the digestive system

    The abdominal organs are squeezed and massaged while stretching and twisting the torso. It eventually improves blood flow towards the digestive system and stimulates enzyme and digestive juices secretion. Therefore, it facilitates better digestion.

    6. Stimulates the reproductive system

    Folding one leg outstretching the knee and lifting the other over the head opens the groins, stretches the pelvic floor muscles, and supplies fresh blood to the reproductive organs.

    7. Activates Sacral chakra

    By stretching the genitals and abdominals, it also benefits the body on energetic levels. It stimulates the sacral chakra and enables the yogi to feel joy, abundance, and wellness. It also allows to feel inner transforming power towards creativity and sensuality.


    Being a advanced practice, Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana opens the body and mind on various levels. However, it’s totally worth it to treat your muscles with its toning and massaging effects.

    Therefore, without further ado, practice this pose to bring in physical and spiritual benefits and elevate your yogic journey.

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