July 02, 2024 6 min read

Yoga is a practice that offers numerous poses, each with its own set of benefits and challenges. One such pose that combines flexibility, strength, and balance is the Compass Pose.

In this article, we will talk about what Compass Pose is, its benefits, how to practice it step-by-step, precautions to consider, and poses that can help you prepare for it.

What is Compass Pose?

Yoga practitioner in Compass Pose, demonstrating deep hamstring stretch,spinal twist.

Compass Pose, also known as Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana in Sanskrit, is an intermediate to advanced yoga pose that involves a deep hamstring stretch, hip opening, and spinal twist. It requires a combination of flexibility in the hamstrings and hips, as well as core strength to maintain balance.

Benefits of Compass Pose

Advanced yoga posture, Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana),

Compass Pose, known as Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana in Sanskrit, offers a variety of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. Here are the key benefits of practicing Compass Pose:

1. Deep Hamstring Stretch

Compass Pose provides a deep stretch to the hamstrings, helping to increase flexibility in the back of the thighs. This is particularly beneficial for athletes, runners, and individuals who sit for long periods, as tight hamstrings contribute to lower back pain and limited mobility.

2. Hip Opening

The pose also opens up the hips and groin area. Many people experience tightness in these areas due to prolonged sitting or physical activities that involve repetitive motions. By stretching and opening the hips, Compass Pose can help alleviate tension and improve overall hip flexibility.

3. Spinal Mobility

Compass Pose incorporates a gentle twist of the spine, which promotes spinal mobility and flexibility. Twisting poses like Compass Pose can help to maintain the health of the spinal discs, improve circulation to the spine, and relieve stiffness in the back.

4. Core Strengthening

Balancing in Compass Pose requires engagement of the core muscles to maintain stability. Regular practice strengthens the core muscles, including the abdominals and obliques, which are essential for supporting the spine and maintaining good posture.

5. Improved Balance and Coordination

Compass Pose challenges balance and proprioception (awareness of body position in space). Practicing balancing poses like Compass Pose can enhance coordination between the body and mind, leading to better overall balance as well as stability in daily activities.

6. Mindfulness and Concentration

Like many yoga poses, Compass Pose encourages mindfulness and concentration. Holding the pose requires focused attention on breath and alignment, which can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity.

7. Energy Flow and Vitality

Twisting poses in yoga are believed to stimulate the flow of energy (prana) throughout the body. Compass Pose, with its combination of stretch, twist, and balance, can help to invigorate the body and increase overall vitality.

8. Preparation for Advanced Poses

Compass Pose is a preparatory pose for more advanced arm balances and twists in yoga practice. It helps develop the strength, flexibility, and body awareness needed for poses like Bird of Paradise (Svarga Dvidasana) and Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana).

9. Therapeutic Benefits

When practiced mindfully and with proper alignment, Compass Pose can have therapeutic benefits. It can help relieve sciatica pain, improve digestion by massaging the abdominal organs, and alleviate mild anxiety or fatigue.

10. Overall Well-being

Incorporating Compass Pose into a regular yoga practice can promote overall well-being by promoting physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance. It provides a comprehensive fitness regimen that combines strength training, flexibility exercises, and mindfulness practices. Pairing it with bamboo yoga clothing further complements sustainability and comfort in your practice.

Step-by-Step Guide to Practicing Compass Pose

Female yogi in Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana, a complex yoga pose combining balance,

Follow these steps to practice Compass Pose safely and effectively:

I. Begin in a Seated Position

Sit with legs extended in front of you, spine tall.

II. Bend the Right Knee

Bring the right foot close to the right sitting bone, keeping the left leg extended.

III. Thread the Right Arm Through

Reach the right arm underneath the right knee, clasping the right big toe with the right hand.

IV. Extend the Left Arm

Reach the left arm behind the back, aiming to clasp the left hand with the right hand behind the back.

V. Straighten the Right Leg

Slowly straighten the right leg while maintaining the bind with the hands.

VI. Deepen the Pose

Gradually extend the right leg out to the side, aiming to straighten it fully.

VII. Hold and Breathe

Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and keeping proper alignment.

VIII. Release and Repeat

Slowly release the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

Compass Pose Contraindications

Woman practicing Compass Pose yoga, stretching her legs,twisting her torso.

While Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana) offers various benefits, it's important to approach it with caution and avoid the pose entirely if you have certain conditions:

Hamstring or Hip Injury:

Compass Pose involves a deep stretch of the hamstrings and hips. If you have existing injuries in these areas, practicing this pose could aggravate the condition. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider or a qualified yoga instructor before trying this pose.


Deep twists and poses that compress the abdomen, such as Compass Pose, are generally not recommended during pregnancy. These poses can strain the abdominal muscles and affect circulation, which may not be suitable for prenatal yoga practice.

Recent Surgery:

If you have undergone recent surgery in the hips or knees, it's essential to avoid poses like Compass Pose that require deep stretching and engagement of these areas. Always adhere to the guidance of your healthcare provider regarding when it's safe to resume these activities.

Spinal Issues:

Individuals with severe spinal issues, like herniated discs or chronic back pain, should approach Compass Pose with caution. Twisting poses can exacerbate these conditions if not performed mindfully and with proper alignment.

High Blood Pressure:

Deep twists can temporarily increase blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, consult with your healthcare provider before attempting poses like Compass Pose, and practice under supervision to monitor your body's response.

Beginner Practitioners:

Compass Pose is an intermediate to advanced yoga pose. Beginners or those new to yoga should first focus on building strength, flexibility, and understanding basic alignment principles before attempting more complex poses like Compass Pose.

Additionally, wearing comfortable attire such as as  green and black leggings canenhance your practice by providing flexibility and support.Always listen to your body and respect its limits.

If you experience any discomfort, pain, or dizziness during the practice of Compass Pose or any yoga pose, gently release the pose and seek guidance from a yoga instructor. Yoga should be practiced mindfully, with awareness of your body's capabilities and limitations, to ensure a safe and beneficial practice.

Poses that Help Prep for Compass Pose

Woman in yoga pose with extended leg and twisted torso, practicing Compass Pose for flexibility , core strength

Preparing your body for Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana) involves practicing poses that increase flexibility, strengthen relevant muscles, and improve overall body awareness. Here are some poses that can help you build the necessary foundation:

Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana):

  • Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and lower back.
  • How to Practice: Sit with legs extended in front, feet flexed. Inhale to elongate your spine, then exhale as you bend forward from your hips. Hold onto the shins, ankles, or feet, keeping the spine long and neck relaxed.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana):

  • Benefits: Opens the hips, stretches the spine, and prepares for twisting poses. 
  • How to Practice: Sit with legs extended, bend the right knee, and place the right foot outside the left thigh. Inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale as you twist to the right, positioning your left elbow outside your right knee. Hold and breathe deeply, then repeat on the other side.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana):

  • Benefits: Opens the hips and groin and improves flexibility in these areas
  • How to Practice: Sit with your legs bent and the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall wide apart. Hold onto the feet or ankles, lengthen the spine on inhalation, and fold forward on exhalation, keeping the spine long.

Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana):

  • Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and groins.
  • How to Practice: Stand with feet wide apart, toes pointing slightly inward. Breathe in to elongate the spine, then breathe out and bend forward from the hips, maintaining the spine's length. Hold onto the ankles or place hands on the floor, elbows pointing back.

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana):

  • Benefits: Combines forward bending with a spinal twist, stretches the hamstrings, and opens the hips.
  • How to Practice: Begin by sitting with one leg extended and the other foot pressed against your inner thigh, wearing comfortable  bamboo yoga trousers. Inhale deeply to lengthen your spine, then exhale as you twist toward the extended leg, bringing the opposite elbow to the outside of your knee. Hold and breathe deeply, then switch sides.


Compass Pose, with its deep stretch, hip opening, and spinal twist, offers a holistic approach to yoga practice. By integrating it into your routine with awareness and mindfulness, you can reap the benefits of increased flexibility, strength, and mental focus.

Make sure to listen to your body, honor its boundaries, and practice yoga under the supervision of a certified instructor to maintain safety and proper alignment in your sessions.Green Apple activewear enhances Compass Pose by providing flexible, breathable fabrics that support freedom of movement.

Its moisture-wicking properties keep you dry and comfortable during deep stretches. At the same time, the snug fit ensures optimal support, allowing you to focus on alignment and balance in every yoga session.

Nikita Parihar
Nikita Parihar

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