How to do Gate Pose, Parighasana: Yoga Stretching Posture
Parighasana – the unusual shape of Gate Pose invites us to open our view of who we are and what shape we make in the world. As we practice both sides, we improve the circulation of prana, our vital energy.
1. Kneel and step the left foot out to the side with the left heel in line with the right knee. Keep your front thigh muscles active as you press the left toes down. Place the left hand palm upon your left thigh. Tuck the tailbone under and lengthen up through the spine. On and inhalation raise the arms to shoulder height.
2. Move the left hip forward to bring it directly above the knee. On the exhalation, curve inward deeply at the left waist and extend the left arm along the front of the left leg. Raise your right arm and stretch up close to your ear, lifting the ribs.
3. On an inhalation, lift through the entire length of the right side from right knee to fingertips. Exhale and arch the right arm over the head toward the left foot. Maintain an openness in the right armpit by easing the right arm back so your shoulders are one above the other. Bring the palms of the hands toward each other and turn the head to gaze upward from under the right arm. Stay here for a few breaths feeling upper ribs expand.
4. Release the right arm on an inhalation, raising the trunk back to the centre. Return the left leg to kneeling. Close your eyes and take some breaths while you experience the subjective difference in length between your right and left sides. Then repeat on the other side.
Gaze: upward past underarm.
- Press left arm to thigh for support
- Keep right hand on hip or extended vertically upward
- Practice cross-legged
Gate Pose, Parighasana Counter Poses
In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralize” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.