Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose) - Fitzabout

The Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana, also known as Seated Compass Pose or Sundial Pose, stretches your shoulders, arms, wrists, legs, and enhances your arm strength.

This is a challenging pose that is an excellent shoulder opener. Due to the complexity of the pose, it is usually performed only by advanced yogis and is beneficial for those who wish to open their hips.

Before performing this pose, it is a good idea to work on its simple forms to build up your strength and flexibility as necessary.

Information

Known as:Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana, Surya Yantrasana, Seated Compass Pose, Sundial Pose, Revolved Sundial Pose
Sanskrit name:परिव्रत सूर्य यंत्रासन
IAST:Parivrtta Sūrya Yantrāsana
Pronunciation:Par-ee-vrt-tah SUR-yuH Yan-truh-AHS-anah
Type:Sitting, twist, side-bend, hip opener
Level:Advanced
Focus:Arms, shoulders, neck, middle back, core, hips, hamstrings, pelvic, and psoas muscles
Total time:15 to 30 seconds
Drishti:Toward the sky and over the upraised arm
Chakra:Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Indications:Respiratory system, abdominal organs, liver and kidneys, digestion, hamstrings, pelvic muscles, spinal column
Preparatory poses:Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-knee Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Forward Bend Pose), Uttana Pristhasana (Lizard Pose), Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Follow-up poses:Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head To Knee Forward Bend Pose)
Contraindications:Back, groin, shoulder, or hamstring injuries, slipped disc or sciatica, during pregnancy and in postnatal stages women

Meaning

Surya Yantrasana

The Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of four words — Parivrtta + Surya + Yantra + Asana:

  1. Parivrtta” = “revolved or twisted”
  2. Surya” = “sun”
  3. Yantra” = “instrument”
  4. Asana” = “pose or posture”
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The name literally translates into English as Revolving Solar Yantra Pose. Here, the word “revolved” refers to a twisted or revolved torso, the solar instrument referring to a compass.

The symbolic significance of the Compass Pose further explains its meaning, as the body in this posture symbolizes a compass that draws the practitioner closer to his physical and spiritual practice.

Benefits of Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose)

Practicing this advanced seated twist pose is a combination of twists for both the upper body (shoulders) and lower body (hips) and offers many benefits when practiced correctly.

Some of these physical and mental benefits are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, back, thighs, and stomach muscles
    • Stretches the groin, hamstrings, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, spine, and tissues of the lung meridian
    • Tones the arms and leg muscles
    • Enhances the elasticity in the spinal column
    • Opens the shoulder and psoas muscles
    • Improves the spinal and hip flexibility
    • Improve the energy levels in the body and mind
    • Stimulates the respiratory system
    • Massages the internal abdominal organs, and stimulates the liver and kidneys
    • Improves blood flow towards the digestive system
    • Stimulates enzyme and digestive juices secretion
  2. Mental Benefits:

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose) Practice Guide

Being an advanced seated twist practice, Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose) opens your body and mind to different levels. However, treating your muscles with its toning and massaging effects is totally worth it.

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Therefore, without delay, practice this mudra to bring physical and spiritual benefits and elevate the yoga journey.

Instructions

  1. Start sitting by crossing your legs and placing your hands on your knees.
  2. Lengthen the right arm along the inside of the right knee and grab hold of the outside of the right foot.
  3. Begin to straighten the left leg and as you do so, place the left hand under the foot for a kickstand-like support.
  4. Holding the leg with the right hand, continue to take the left leg back.
  5. The right hand should go behind the head and body, and the left leg should be completely straight.
  6. Pay attention to balance, place the sit bone of the lower leg down on the mat. Turn your head to the left to see that left hand. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  7. To release, bend the extended top knee again, drop the right hand under the right leg and drop the foot to the floor.

Alignment Tips

Two major misalignment commonly occur during Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Seated Compass Pose) — the front body slumps down, rounding the spine and low back, and/or the bottom shoulder is forced forward, straining your neck and muscles of your rotator cuff.

To protect the low back, continue to press the grounded thigh-bone firmly down, extending the spine up as you attempt to straighten the top leg.

Your lifted leg will inevitably push the bottom shoulder forward as you extend your leg straight. Therefore, it is extremely important to strongly press the bottom shoulder back into your leg to maintain shoulder integration.

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Keep the bottom leg active, flexing the pinkie toe of the grounded foot and engaging the ankle muscles. Also, keep pulling the top hand back into the lifted foot through your arm bone, wrapping your top shoulder blade into the back ribs. Lastly, press the base of the skull back, preventing hyperextension in the neck.

Precautions and contraindications

Seated Compass Pose is an advanced seated twist pose, there are some precautions and contraindications to keep in mind while practicing Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana, which are explained below:

Injury and surgery

As the practice of this pose involves deep stretching of shoulders, hamstrings, hips, pelvis, chest, and abdomen with deep stretches, injuries of shoulders, elbows, wrists, neck, rib cage, hips, abdominal region, knees, ankles etc., this pose should be avoided. People who are recovering from any surgery should also avoid this pose, even if you are in a state of recovery.

Slip disc and sciatica

A pulled hamstring will affect all nerves connected to the lower back and hips, so this pose should be avoided in those with issues related to the sciatic nerve, or with a herniated disc in any part of the spine.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women, even if you have a lot of experience, should avoid practicing Sundial Pose as it puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Post-delivery individuals should also avoid this pose as the pelvic, uterus and abdominal muscles are still tender and in a state of recovery.

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