Learning the Language of Yoga: Gate Pose also known as #Parighasana By Natalie Anthony
This pose isn’t commonly performed in yoga classes, but it has many benefits. Gate pose, also known as Parighasana, helps lengthen and stretch your entire body – one side at a time.
- Getting into it: Kneel on your mat with your knees hip distance apart. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. Feel long in your torso, and drop your shoulders away from your ears. When you’re ready, stretch your right leg to the right – it should be in line with your hip. Then press the foot to the floor, and try to align your right heel with your left knee. Next, inhale to bring your arms out to your sides, in a T shape, parallel to the floor. Your palms are facing down. Now bring your right arm down to your right leg and sweep the left arm up and overhead. You’re arching your spine (lateral stretch) to the right to lengthen and stretch the left side. Be sure to drop the left shoulder away from your left ear and the arm sweeps up. Hold this pose for a few breaths. Release from this pose slowly by first drawing your torso back up to straight, then by dropping your left hand down. Next, slide your right leg back towards your body and come back to the kneeling position you started with. Repeat these actions on the left to make sure your body is balanced out!
Tips and tricks:
- Use a block under your extended foot if it does not reach the floor easily.
- Pivot your extended foot to come onto the heel (toes facing up) for a different stretch in your leg.
- Fold your mat over for extra padding if your knees are sensitive.
- Slowly alternate the sweep of your arms from left to right to make this pose more dynamic.
- Releases muscular tension in the hamstrings.
- Stretches the sides of your torso and spine.
- Helps open your shoulders.
- Stimulates your abdominal organs and lungs.
One of my clients really enjoys this pose as it helps lengthen his entire side body including is outer hip muscles. Gate pose is also a great way to prepare for several standing poses such as extended side angle and head to knee. As with most yoga poses, think of lengthening on your inhale, and softening on your exhale.
Natalie Anthony, BA, RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
After a serious accident, Natalie was revived by discovering the physical and emotional benefits of yoga. Her yoga journey began as a client at Balance, and evolved into a passion for teaching the practice to others. Natalie is registered with the International Yoga Alliance as an instructor. Her creative sequencing inspires students to develop strength, flexibility and joy – both on and off the mat. Natalie instructs group classes and facilitates private one-on-one Yoga sessions at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness and wellness centre. balancefit.com