Practice: Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)


Parivrtta = revolved     Surya = Sun    Yantra = Instrument   


Open your hips, hamstrings and shoulders in preparation to guide yourself in to compass pose.

This pose requires patience, lots of warming up, and the ability to know the difference between listening to your body and listening to your ego. When we push ourselves in to a pose without waiting for the body to open up to it naturally, we’re listening to our ego (that chattering voice of criticism and comparison within our minds – you know the one), and we’re doing more to harm than to help ourselves.

Like all aspects of yoga; it’s not about perfection. It’s about practice. When you move slowly and gently, everything unfolds and opens up with a surprising amount of ease. 

To Prepare:

Make sure you warm up the whole body, lengthen the hamstrings and work on some hip-openers before attempting to move deeper.

  • Flow through a few rounds of Surya namaskar A + B
  • Practice some warrior poses, and include trikonasana in your flow to open the hamstrings.
  • Take Lizard Pose to open the hips before moving down to the floor
  • Try some deeper hip opening with Baddha Konasana
  • And lastly, work on the hips and hamstrings simultaneously with supta hasta padangusthasana A and B

 When you feel ready, find your way to compass pose, approaching it with a sense of calmness.

 How To:

  •  Sitting in Sukhasana (easy cross-legged pose) *or if you find it difficult to sit this way, sit with the legs outstretched in dandasana.
  • Bend the [left] leg infront of you, sole of the foot on the floor.
  • Place the [left] arm on the inside of the bent leg
  • Take hold of the outer edge of the [left] foot with the [right] hand
  • Begin to extend that [left] leg up and out, so the [right] arm comes overhead and you feel and opening through the shoulders and chest.
  • Keep extending as you slide the left arm slightly out too
  • Be extra careful while you lengthen the hamstrings, as these muscles are particularly vulnerable when we push them too hard. The best way to become more flexible is to move slowly, breathing calmly and never EVER pushing, as this will just cause those muscles to contract more and cause more potential for injury.
  • When you’ve found your ‘edge’ – you know, you can feel yourself growing in the pose, but you’re not causing harm – then stay here for atleast 10 breaths to really get the feeling of what compass pose feels like.
  •  To come out, gently bend the [left] leg and bring it back down.
  • Release the hand from the foot, and come to sit in sukhasana or another comfortable seated position before having a go at the other side – noticing if there’s a difference between each side of the body.

To counterpose, come in to pursvottanasana to strengthen the muscles of the legs we’ve just lengthened, and to bring stability back to the shoulders, collarbones and chest.

*There are lots of variations of this pose, so find what works for you.



Have fun!

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