Kneeling Asana Parighasana – Gate Pose
The name is derived from the Sanskrit Parigha, referring to the bar that closes a gate, and asana, meaning “posture.” It offers a number of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to the practitioner despite its simplicity.
Table of Contents
- 1 - History of Gate Pose
- 2 - Step by step Gate pose
- 3 - Benefits of Gate Pose
- 4 - Beginner’s Tips
History of Gate Pose
The asana is not known before the 20th century. Since, as yoga scholar Mark Singleton writes, it closely resembles a pose used in modern gymnastics such as Niels Bukh’s 1924 Primary Gymnastics. It is likely that Krishnamacharya derived the asana from the general gymnastics culture of his time.
There is no suggestion that he copied it directly from Bukh.
Step by step Gate pose
Some of the steps to do Gate Pose are:
- First of all, Kneel on your mat such that your toes are curled under. This will give you stability and will also help open up the soles of the feet. Alternatively, you could place the tops of your feet flat on the mat.
- Now, you must Stretch your right leg out on the right side. Rotate the hip outwards so that the kneecap faces the sky.
- The extended leg must be in the same line as the kneeling knee, and the kneeling knee should be right under the hip of the same leg.
- You should inhale and stretch your left arm overhead, such that the side of your body is extended. Your arm must be beside your ear, and your shoulder blade should be firmly pressed against your back.
- You must exhale as you hinge over to the right side, and allow your right hand to rest either on your thigh, ankle, or foot.
- Look at the sky, and remember to keep the back of your neck long.
- You must breathe deeply and hold the pose.
- After that, you must inhale. Draw the inner thighs close to each other, pull the belly in, and lift up to release the pose.
- finally, you must exhale and slide the stretched out leg back. Relax and repeat the asana on the other side.
Benefits of Gate Pose
Some of the benefits of doing Gate Pose are:
To promote deep breathing
The first benefit of doing Gate Pose is to promote deep breathing. The sideways bending stretches the intercostal muscles. It enhances chest mobility and aid in efficient respiration.
This way Parighasana promotes good breathing habits in asthma and COPD patients.
To restores health of abdominal organs
The second benefit of doing Gate Pose is to restore the health of abdominal organs. One by one sideways bending to the left and right side massages the abdominal organs like the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, spleen, and pancreas. In this way, Parighasana harmonizes the digestive system and enhances the functioning of abdominal organs by exchanging deoxygenated blood from oxygenated blood.
To overcomes obesity
The third benefit of doing Gate Pose is to overcomes obesity. It sets muscles into intense stress while bending either side. This raises the activity at the cellular level to suffice the demand for energy (more calories burn).
Therefore, regular practice of gate poses results in the utilization of extra fat from the various parts of the body.
To improve flexibility
The fourth benefit of doing Gate Pose is to improve flexibility. It gives a deep stretch to the calves, hamstring, quadriceps, biceps, triceps, abdominal, hip-flexors, gluteus, etc. The back-to-back contraction and relaxation of the muscles loosen up the muscle fibers; Hence, makes the body flexible.
Helps in pranayama (yogic breathing)
The fifth benefit of doing Gate Pose helps in pranayama (yogic breathing). Stretching of intercostal muscles in this pose enhances the thoracic volume and strengthen the chest muscles. Such transformation to the thoracic cavity ensures freedom of movement for the lungs, which is of utmost importance for Pranayama practice.
To mobilizes pelvic joint
The sixth benefit of doing Gate Pose to Mobilizes pelvic joint. Holding a Stretched leg to the sideways in Parighasana allow pelvic muscles and joint to open up which can be enhanced by increase the time period of holding; Therefore, improve movements.
To activates Ajna Chakra
The seventh and the last benefit of doing Gate Pose is to Ajna Chakra. Consistent practice of this asana results in the activation of Ajna chakra. It is considered as the head of the rest of the chakras.
Activation of this chakra blessed a practitioner with an energized body. However, it is also beneficial for the eyes and nose.
Some of the precautions of doing Gate Pose are:
- Do not do this posture while having severe injuries or discomfort in knees, legs, hips, or shoulders.
- If you have pain in your ankle or shoulder joints do not do this asana.
- Do not practice this asana during menstruation.
If you are new to yoga then you might not have that much flexibility to reach your feet or keep your feet flat on the ground. If this is the case then, you should follow :
- You may place a yoga block or folded blanket under your foot.
- Be very careful and do not lean forward while you bend sideways.
- If you feel uncomfortable then you can seek help from any yoga expert before practicing this asana.
- Instead of engaging the hand on the leg, you can use a yoga block as well to place your hand.