Parighasana widely recognized as Gate Pose is an excellent yoga asana to exercise your intercostals muscles. These muscles are involved in breathing mechanism. Due to this reason, Gate Pose is highly beneficial for the respiratory system. When you hold the pose, one side of the torso stretches while the other contracts. It allows you to deliver oxygen to the parts that usually don’t receive a high amount of it. Gate Pose is also a great way to stretch your adductor muscles as well.
The name Parighasana is carved out of 2 Sanskrit words. Let’s have a look at what each word means:
Parigha = A bar or beam used for locking a gate
Asana = Posture or Comfortable seat
In the final position of this pose the shape of the body resembles to that of a cross beam that is used to secure the lock in a gate and hence the name. Let’s move to Parighasana’s steps followed by precautions and benefits.
Parighasana (Gate Pose) steps
Starting Position: Kneel on your yoga mat. Keep the knees and ankles together. Big toes either curled under or simply rest the foot flat.
- Stretch out the right leg to the right side keeping it straight. Firmly place the right foot on the floor. Keep the right leg tightened at the knee.
- Turn the right hip outwards so that your right knee face upwards. Left thigh must remain perpendicular to the floor. Right heel must be in line (aligned) with the left knee.
- Inhale and raise your arms in line with your shoulders and parallel to the floor. Keep the palms facing either up or down. Take a deep breath here.
- Exhale and bend your torso towards the right leg as far as you can (without straining). As you bend, place the right hand on your shin with palm facing up.
- Turn the left palm upwards and stretch your left arm as far as you can. Turn the head in upward direction.
- Hold the pose from 20 – 60 seconds breathing normally. Practice twice from each side by interchanging the position of legs and arms.
Release the pose
Inhale and turn your head in the neutral position. Slightly lower the left arm. Next, gently bring the torso back in the upright position along with the right arm. Lower the arms to come in starting position. Relax the body, take 3 slow and deep breaths. Repeat the steps from the other side for the same duration of time.
Practice this variation only if you have become very comfortable in performing the simplified one. There is no different name for it. Actually, it is the final position of Parighasana. Usually, the simpler variation is practiced first before moving to the final one.
In this variation, the trunk is bent even further. The right palm rests on the right foot, not on the shin. So when you bend the trunk maximum, the left palm rests on the right palm. The head remains slightly upwards. The side stretch is even more intensified in this variation.
- Be careful not to lean forward when you bend sideways.
- Keep the neck in neutral position if you have neck-ache.
- Don’t put the weight on the hand that rests on the straight leg.
- You may place a thickly folded blanket under the bent knee.
- Bend only as far as you can comfortably, don’t overstretch.
- Practice regularly to experience the health benefits.
Precautions for Parighasana (Gate Pose)
Avoid practicing Parighasana if you suffer from any of this condition: Have or had a knee injury recently, knee pain, severe back pain or pain in shoulder or ankle joints.
Parighasana (Gate Pose) Benefits
- Stretches the pelvic region of the body.
- Stimulates the functioning of abdominal organs.
- Loosen up the muscles of the back making it more flexible.
- Stretches calves, hamstrings and opens shoulders.
- Stretches the muscles that engage in the breathing mechanism.
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