The Compass Pose or Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is a challenging seated pose that is an excellent shoulder opener. Owing to the complexity of the pose, it is usually attempted only by advanced yogis and is beneficial for those who want to open up their hips.

compass pose

Health Benefits

Compass Pose is effective in stretching the hamstrings, shoulders, hips, groins and the spinal column. This hip opening pose nourishes the lower back and limbs. Proper and regular execution of the pose stretches the tissues of the lung meridian and enhances muscle flexibility.

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana  stimulates digestion and cleans up the organs. This pose makes the spine more elastic and flexible and promotes leg flexibility also. Performing this pose regularly detoxifies the body, relieves constipation and relieves stress. The Compass Pose helps the practitioner develop patience, stability and sensitivity.

Getting into the Pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Initial Position: Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Drishti or Gaze: Forward

Steps:

  1. Begin by sitting in Sukhasana (cross-legged position).
  2. Bend the right knee and bring it close to your chest as if hugging it.
  3. Stretch out the left leg in front of you.
  4. Keep your right arm in front of your right leg and bring your right hand under your right leg. Put your fingertips firmly on the ground or mat. With your left hand reach your right foot and lengthen your right leg as much as possible, simultaneously taking your left arm overhead and straightening that as well.
  5. Keep your gaze fixed on the left arm.
  6. Hold the pose for at least 10 seconds and repeat with the other side.

Rest in Crocodile pose if you feel exerted.

Other Variations

  • Standing Compass Pose – Advanced Version – Begin in the Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Lift up your left leg towards the side. Keep your knees straight. Wrap your arms around your leg (from around your back) and hold up your leg vertically, pointing towards the sky. Put the whole of your body weight on your right leg. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths and repeat. This version facilitates an even deeper stretch than the regular Compass Pose.

Preparatory Poses

Beginners Tips

Since this is a very complex and challenging pose, beginners are advised to use Yoga Props like straps while performing this pose, also a proper warm-up is required before starting to perform this pose (e.g. Sun salutation sequence or Surya Namaskar).

Advanced Poses

  • Revolved head to knee forward bend (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

Important Notes

Do not perform this pose if you have:

  • Shoulder injury
  • Groin injury
  • Hamstring injury
  • Back injury

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