As beautiful and delicate as it seems from afar, the Gate Pose, or Parighasana, makes the body look just as lean and sublime. Not being an advanced pose, it can offer its benefits even to beginner yoga practitioners: the pose gracefully stretches and lengthens the muscles of the legs, the spine and the shoulders. As much as it opens our chest and makes us reach up, it gives us intent, clarity of thought and self - belief.
1.) Kneel on the mat with your spine straight. Feet resting flat on the ground, soles up.
2.) Place hands under shoulder in tabletop position.
3.) Extend one leg to the side while stretching it completely. The sole of that leg should align with the level of the knee of the opposite leg. The foot of the extended leg is flexed, toes pointing upwards.
4.) Come up onto your knees and place your hands on your hips.
5.) Slide the hand closest to your extended leg down your leg, and as you do so, lift your other arm and extend your arm overhead in the direction of the extended leg taking a slight side bend.
6.) Look up at your arm overhead.
7.) To exit the pose, come back to kneeling pose. Repeat on opposite side.
The Gate Pose stretches the muscles of nearly the legs: the shins, the quadriceps, the psoas, the hamstrings, the hips as well as the muscles of the shoulder girdle, the core and the back.
To achieve a long, lean look of your muscles, the Gate Pose is certainly a way to go. It lengthens nearly every bigger muscle of the body with a special emphasis put on those of the spine.
When one performs the Gate Pose, they reach up with their arm, expanding the chest and creating a lot of space in the area while stretching the rest of the body. It clears out one’s meddled thoughts, gives sharpness of thinking as well as supports self - belief and confidence, inspiring new ideas.
If you would like to focus on balance during your practice a bit more, this variation is adequate for you. Starting from the standard Gate Pose, carefully straighten your back and align it with the tailbone and the bent leg. Keep gazing forwards. Extend both arms to the sides so that they are perpendicular to the trunk and parallel to the ground. Engage the back muscles to balance.
Starting from the original position, twist your spine even more so that the breasts are facing the extended leg. Straighten both of your arms so that one touches the ground with fingers spread, lightly pressing onto the ground and the second reaches up above your head. Let your gaze follow that arm to deepen the twist. Feel the stretch and space being created in your upper body.