Gate Pose (Parighasana) is unique in that it offers us the opportunity to practice deep lateral stretching and bending, which is rarely present in our everyday lives.
Given this fact, the sensation may feel intense at first, but think of Gate pose as the gateway to expansiveness in your side body, opening the doorway to three-dimensional breathing and a fuller, deeper sense of breath.
Benefits of Gate Pose
Gate Pose stretches the side body, shoulders, and hamstrings, and creates a sensation of openness in the lungs. The pose also facilitates elasticity and flexibility of the spine, and can also aid with respiratory problems such as asthma or allergies.
Gate Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin kneeling on your mat, with the tops of the feet down and the knees separated hip-distance apart.
- Come up to stand on your knees, stacking the hips directly over the knees, and extend your right leg out to the right.
- Find an external rotation of the right leg, taking the heel of the right foot down on the floor and the knee and toes of the right foot pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Keep the left hip stacked over the left knee, and begin to slight the right palm down the right leg.
- As you inhale, begin to extend your left arm up and over to the right, with the bicep in line with the ear and the palm of the left hand facing down toward the floor.
- Spin your chest open toward the ceiling and direct your breath into your left side body, opening up through the spaces in between your ribs.
- Send the gaze up and hold here for up to 5 breaths. To come out of the pose, inhale back up to centre, and repeat on the other side.
- Note the tendency to collapse into the right side body and use the right hand to maintain the expression of the pose—instead, keep the core engaged and the weight in the right hand light.
- If there is any pressure in the knees, fold your mat over or tuck a folded towel or blanket underneath the knee(s) for added cushioning.
- To move deeper into the pose, you can bring the sole of the right foot down onto the floor, with the toes stretching away from the body.