Compass Pose - Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana

Compass Pose - YanvaYoga


Compass Pose or Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Par-ee-vrt-tah SUR-yuH Yan-truh-AHS-anah ) is an intermediate to advanced seated posture with a twist that requires flexibility throughout the body. The name comes from the Sanskrit, parivrtta, meaning “revolved” or “twisted”; surya, meaning “sun”; yantra, meaning “instrument”; and asana, which translates as “pose” or “posture.”
In Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana, the drishti (gaze) can be straight ahead, but for a deeper twist, the gaze is toward the sky and over the upraised arm.
The pose is believed to open the svadisthana (sacral) chakra, which is associated with creativity and sexual energy. When svadisthana is balanced, the yogi experiences feelings of joy, wellness, pleasure, connection, abundance and transforming power.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start seated in a cross-legged position. Place the sole of your right foot on the floor, leaving your left foot where it is, and hug your right knee into your chest.
Step 2
Lengthen your right arm along the inside of your right knee and grab hold of the outside of your right foot. With your left hand behind you for support, lean back as you lift your right foot off the floor until the sole of your foot is facing the front of the room, shinbone parallel to the floor.
Step 3
Holding onto the outside of the right foot with your right hand, flex your foot as you pull the right foot and knee straight back alongside the outer right ribs.
Step 4
Flex your left foot as well, and firm your left inner thigh down to lengthen up through the spine. Then raise your left arm up and across your chest, reaching over the top of your right foot to grab the outer edge of that foot with your left hand.
Step 5
With the left hand holding the right foot, release the right hand down to the floor beside your right hip with your right arm inside and under your right leg.
Step 6
Leaning onto your left hip, pull your right knee further back with your left hand and swing the leg higher up and over your right shoulder (as though you were throwing a purse over your shoulder).
Step 7
Pause and take a deeper inhale. With your left hand griping your outer right foot lean more into your right hand now, and begin to straighten your right leg, pushing your right foot into your left hand, on the exhale.
Step 8
As you begin to straighten your right leg, simultaneously pull back with your left hand, bringing the left arm behind your head, and turn your chest, belly and gaze to the left, looking up under your left armpit.

Benefits and Contraindications


Relieves stress

Helps increase overall agility

Opening the hips and stretching the hamstrings

Stimulates the internal organs

Helps strengthen and lengthen the stabilizing muscles of your spine, maintaining spinal mobility



Hamstring injury

Back or spinal cord injuries

Shoulder injury

Groin injury

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props for Beginners

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.

If the seated knee lifts up you can use a blanket or block to give it support.

Useful Tips

  • One of the vital aspects of any yoga pose is breathing. Make sure that you are regulating your breathing during the Compass Pose.
  • Do not worry if your pose looks different from the other people. Push your body to do better but not on the brink of injury.
  • Honor the limits of your body. Warm-up before doing this pose will make your body more accessible to the Compass Pose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Compass Pose work?

Compass Pose works on various muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, hips, quadriceps, lower back, and core muscles.

Is Compass Pose suitable for beginners?

Compass Pose is an advanced yoga posture that requires a great deal of flexibility, strength, and balance. It’s not recommended for beginners or those with limited flexibility.

How can I prepare for Compass Pose?

To prepare for Compass Pose, you can practice other hip and hamstring openers. You can also work on strengthening your core, shoulders, and back muscles through other yoga poses and exercises.

Can Compass Pose cause injuries?

Like any advanced yoga posture, Compass Pose can cause injuries if not done correctly or without proper preparation. It’s essential to warm up before attempting this pose and to listen to your body’s signals.

Can Compass Pose be modified for beginners?

Yes, Compass Pose can be modified for beginners or those with limited flexibility by using props, such as a strap or block, to support your body and gradually work towards the full expression of the pose.

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.