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Gate Pose (parighasana)

Warm-up posture that increases the flexibility of your spine.
 

Gate Pose (or parighasana) is an invigorating pose that provides a good stretch to the sides of your body and increases the flexibility of your spine. You can also use this pose to tone your abdominal muscles and improve your circulation. Gate Pose is an excellent pose to perform in preparation for Triangle Pose. While both poses stretch similar muscles, Gate Pose does not require the intense stretch to the back of your legs.
 
Performing Gate Pose stretches the muscles that connect your ribs, allowing your lungs to expand to help increase your capacity for deep breathing. As a result, practicing this pose is especially useful if you have a breathing problem, such as asthma.
 
While performing Gate Pose, make sure your elbow does not move in front of your face, but stretches up above your ear. You should also focus on lengthening your spine with each inhalation and stretching to your side with each exhalation.
 
Use caution performing this pose if you suffer from knee, hip or shoulder problems.
 
Steps:
Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width apart and your thighs parallel.
Extend your right leg to your right side.
Place the sole of your right foot flat on the floor, with your toes pointing forward.
(Your right leg should be straight, but your knee should not be locked.)
Rest your right hand on the outside of your right thigh.
Inhale and extend your left arm overhead, with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling and your palm facing your right side.
(Your left upper arm should remain beside your left ear throughout the pose.)
Exhale and bend from the waist as you stretch to the right.
(Keep your left shoulder back and relaxed as you stretch to the right.)
Slide your right hand down the outside of your right leg.
(Your right arm should be straight, but your elbow should not be locked.)
Turn your head to look past your left elbow
right foot into the floor as you extend out through your fingertips and the crown of your head
Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds.
To come out of the pose, inhale and bring your torso upright. Then exhale and bring your arms to your sides and your knees together.
Repeat steps 2 to 11 for your other side
 
I feel pressure on my knees in this pose. What can I do?
To reduce the pressure on your knees, you can perform the pose while kneeling on a blanket or mat.
 
My neck feels uncomfortable when I look up past my elbow. Can I still perform the pose?
You can still perform this pose, but you should look straight ahead instead of turning your head to look past your elbow.
 
How can I stretch my foot and the back of my calf more in Gate Pose?
Instead of placing the sole of your foot flat on the floor, place your heel on the floor with your toes pointing up toward the ceiling. This modification also provides a deeper stretch to your hamstring.
 
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