Compass posture (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana): process, benefits, variation

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Sanskrit pronunciation Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana
(Par-ee-vrt-tah SUR-yuH Yan-truh-AHS-anah)
importance Parivrtta = turned, / Surya = sun / Yantra = instrument / Asana = pose
Pose type Sit and turn sideways bend
Pose level Advanced
anatomy Arms, shoulders, middle back, neck, core, hips, hamstrings, and pelvic muscles
other names Compass pose, rotatable sundial pose

Information on Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is an advanced sitting posture that opens the shoulders and hips while rotating the upper body. It deepens the coordination between body and mind.

This pose works as a full body workout that benefits the body on both a physical and a mental level.

The Sanskrit name Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is literally translated as a twisted sun instrument pose. Here the term "twisted" refers to the twisted or twisted torso, solar instrument refers to a compass.

The symbolic meaning of the compass posture further clarifies its meaning, as in this asana the body symbolizes a compass that guides the practitioner closer to his physical and spiritual practice.

Compass Pose Exercise Guide

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  • Avoid this pose if you have a back, neck, or knee injury.
  • Do not try a hip or shoulder dislocation and an injury to the groin or hamstrings.
  • Skip the practice if you have a herniated disc or sciatica.
  • Women should avoid Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana during pregnancy and in the postnatal stages.

Preparatory poses

How To Do A Compass Pose (Steps)

Compass pose how to do itImage source: Canva

  1. Start by sitting in Ardha Padmasana and place the right leg over the left.
  2. Lift your right leg and wrap your right arm around your right foot and your left arm around your shin.
  3. By opening the hips, the right leg is pulled outwards and the foot is held with the right hand.
  4. Now lift your right leg and place your right knee over your right shoulder.
  5. Grasp your right foot with your left hand by extending your left arm behind your head.
  6. Extend your right arm and press your right palm on the floor under your right leg.
  7. Lift your right knee off your right shoulder and grab your foot with your left hand. With pointy toes and active arches, straighten your right leg upwards
  8. Lean slightly to the right and rotate your torso and neck to the left.
  9. Try to look up beyond your left triceps.
  10. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths, then bend your right knee to get out of the pose. Repeat this process by changing the leg position.

Follow up poses

Tip for beginners

If you are having too much trouble holding your raised foot with another hand to straighten your leg in a compass position, use a yoga harness.

Wrap a strap around the foot and hold it in place with your hand to straighten the leg up. This adds extra length to the hand and allows for stretching.

Compass pose variation

Practice the variation of the compass pose to deepen the pose range.

1. Standing compass posture

This is an advanced variant that is performed while standing with Tadasana as the base. From here, fold your torso forward to tuck your right shoulder under your right knee. Bring your left arm around your back and grasp your right wrist behind your back with your left hand. Now lift your right leg and stretch it forward, keeping your back straight.

2. Compass position lying down

For this pose, sit down with your left leg extended and raise your right leg, placing your knee on your shoulder. Put both hands on the floor behind your back. Then lift your hips off the floor, lean your left knee back and stretch your right leg on your back

3. Hold the leg with the appropriate hand

In this variant, one leg (e.g. left) is folded at the knee and the foot is placed on the alternative (right) thigh. However, the right leg is turned from the outside and lifted up with the toes. The right leg is held around the calf or ankle by the right hand while the left arm is held straight and the palm is pressed against the floor.

4. Infinity pose

For the infinity pose, sit in the straddle pose, then bend one of your knees closer to your chest. Now bend to the side of the outstretched leg and stretch out the upper hand behind the head to hold the foot. Rotate your torso to look up and try to keep the bent shin off your lower hand.

Compass pose benefits

1. Strengthens the arms

When you hold this pose by extending your arms to hold the raised leg and balancing the body, the muscles of both the shoulders and the arms and wrists are stretched. It strengthens the arm muscles and increases arm strength.

2. Improves the flexibility of the spine

Twisting the torso and neck, as well as maintaining back integrity, stretch the back muscles. It improves the blood supply to the entire back muscles. This improves the elasticity in the spine.

3. Opens hip flexors

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

4. Make your limbs stronger

The leg muscles are tight and hold this pose. It stretches the thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Even the arches are activated as they get to the end position. Therefore, it strengthens the leg muscles and prepares them for more demanding poses.

5. Boosts the digestive system

The abdominal organs are compressed and massaged while the upper body is stretched and rotated. It eventually improves blood flow to the digestive system and stimulates the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices. Hence, it facilitates better digestion.

6. Stimulates the reproductive system

When you stretch one leg above your knee and raise the other above your head, the groin opens, the pelvic floor muscles stretch, and the reproductive organs are supplied with fresh blood.

7. Activates the sacral chakra

By stretching the genitals and abdominal muscles, it also benefits the body on an energetic level. It stimulates the sacral chakra and enables the yogi to feel joy, abundance and well-being. It also makes it possible to feel the inner transforming power in the direction of creativity and sensuality.


Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is an advanced practice that opens the mind and body on different levels. However, it is worth treating your muscles with their toning and massaging effects.

Therefore, without further ado, practice this pose for physical and spiritual benefits and enhance your yogic journey.

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