• How to do Parighasana (Gate Pose)

    Parighasana or the gate pose is in the Ashtanga yoga second series. This pose is a very important integration posture that allows you to really work on your side body stretch. Side body stretches help integrate the muscles of your back and align your pelvis.

    If you have misalignment of your sacrum or iliac crest or if you feel like your pelvis is a little bit out of whack, side body stretches are really wonderful to help get those areas back into alignment.

    The shoulder position in this pose allows you to work on the deep core strength of the body. The pose gives you an awareness that routes down into the center of your pelvis.

    Symbolically the gate represents the opening of your spiritual eyes. This pose helps you turn your attention inward and focus on your inner journey that is yoga.

    Benefits of parighasana or gate pose :

    When done correctly, parighasana can be a very beneficial pose for your body. It is important to focus on alignment and make sure you are doing the pose correctly in order to reap all of its benefits. Here are a few benefits of doing this pose.

    • Stretches the muscles of your back and aligns your pelvis
    • Helps integrate the muscles of your back
    • Allows you to work on the deep core strength of the body
    • Gives you an awareness that routes down into the center of your pelvis
    • Opens up the hips and groin area
    • Stretches calves and hamstrings
    • Opens shoulders
    • Stimulates abdominal organs

    Contraindications for parighasana or gate pose

    If you have any injuries or conditions in your shoulders, arms, groin, or hamstrings, parighasana may not be the best pose for you. The same goes for if you’re pregnant. If you have neck pain, it’s best to keep your head in line with your spine and look straight ahead rather than turning it to the side.

    To do parighasana or the gate pose:

    Sit on your mat with your right leg extended.

    Bend your left knee. Drop your left knee to the floor so your calf muscle is out to the side and your foot is pointing behind you. You’re using a little bit of internal rotation of your hip here. You want your thigh bones to make it 90-degree angle.

    Activate the inner thigh of your right leg to form the foundation of the posture.

    Gently roll the pelvis slightly forward.

    Keep the left hip spiraling in.

    Activate your thighs squeezing the thigh bones into their sockets.

    Suck your belly in.

    Drop your pubic bone back and allow your sitting bones to come slightly off the ground.

    Walk both of your hands forward, so you’re almost doing a forward fold between both of your legs.

    Exhale as you fold over to your right side, so your right shoulder is on the ground and your left shoulder is up.  Your torso is on the inner edge of your right thigh with your head and shoulder down.

    Push your left hip down.

    Reach your hands up and grab your right foot.

    Pull your sternum forward and away from the pubic bone.

    Keep your belly deeply in and your mind calm.

    Stay here for five breaths and then slowly come out of the pose by releasing your foot, dropping forward and rising all the way up.

    Watch this video with Kino to see how to do Parighasana in more detail.