Though the underlining reason for its determential effects doesn’t seem entirely clear, sitting is said to be the new smoking. Meaning it is meant to cause the body harm if done over a period of time. With this in mind, Gate pose in yoga after a long day in the office can help open a door of possibly leading to a less sluggish feeling and better breathing in the body. Gate pose, I feel is a quintessential pose for the times we live in.
Gate pose (Parighasana)is a mixture of two words ‘Parigha plus Asana’. Parigha is a Sanskrit word, means an iron rod or beam (or bar) that is used to close the gate; and Asana means posture or pose. While practising this yoga pose our body resembles an iron rod which is used to lock up the gate. It allows us to welcome breath into the side areas of our body that we usually overlook, by elongating the intercostals muscles that connect our ribs.
For beginners, it’s a straightforward Asana. It can also be enlisted in preparatory Asanas as it warms up and gives energy to the body.
Origin: All credit goes to Mr. K. Pattabhi Jois (a well-known Indian Yoga Guru) who introduced this Asana to the world. This Asana does not come under traditional Indian Yoga, but is widely known as Classical Indian Yoga founded by Mr. Jois.
How to practice
Begin kneeling with the buttocks off the ground in the centre of your yoga mat. It’s nice to kneel on a thin folded blanket to protect the knee as you kneel on your Yoga mat. I like to use the line of the yoga mat as a point of reference for proper alignment. First move your right leg out towards to the right.
Place the right foot on the mat firmly. The extended leg must be aligned with the kneeling Your left kneeling leg must be precisely below your hip, i.e. in a perpendicular position and hence why the mat is an excellent way to check the alinement.
Next in inhale as you raise your left arm up and exhale as you slide the right arm down the right leg. The left arm should be raised, and please keep your shoulders relaxed.
Exhale as the right-hand reaches as far possible down the right leg without losing the alinement. Please never rest the hand on the knee but instead go for below or above the knee.
Look at the sky keeping your neck long. Hold the pose for few minutes and breathe deeply. Feel the rhythm of your breathing and remain focused.
Inhale and slowly release the pose.
Relax and repeat the same procedure to the opposite side.
Precautions: Don’t practice this Asana in case of shoulder or knee injuries.
It energises and lightens the side of the body. It opens the chest and shoulders; stretches calves, hamstrings and pelvic region. It also stimulates abdominal organs that help in digestion. It makes the spine more flexible.
It also improves our breathing pattern by stretching intercostals muscles which connect the ribs, hence enhances lung functions. It allows the breath to become three-dimensional.
I love doing this pose if I have been on my computer too much doing the day.
‘Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
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The Word Sprite