Parighasana, Gate Pose
परिघासन / beam posture
Parighasana, or Gate Pose is a unique pose because it unlocks areas in the body that can get overlooked. Due to the deep opening in the side body, space is opened up so that one can breathe deeply into areas of the body that are hard to get to.
This pose is an excellent alternative to the deep side stretch of Exalted Warrior and a wonderful warm up before Triangle Pose. In fact, one can receive a much deeper opening through the side body in Gate Pose.
Gate Pose is a deep side bending posture that can stretch out the often-neglected areas of the body. This pose stretches you from the IT muscles on the outside of your quadriceps, through your hips, obliques, intercostals, latissimus dorsi, triceps, biceps and even your wrist and hand.
The pose also insists that you engage your core muscles and inner leg muscles in order to stabilize the pose. It is difficult to isolate the inner thigh and groin muscles in order to strengthen them, and Gate Pose is an amazing exercise to do just that.
When the inner leg muscles are strong, they can support the inner and outer muscles that support the knees, thereby reducing knee pain associated with weakness. Additionally, when all the muscles in the leg are strong, alignment in the entire body is improved – feet, knees, hips, shoulders and spine.
This pose also strengthens the back muscles, specifically the lower back, middle back and shoulders. It also helps to create space between each set of vertebrae in the spine, which frees up nerves so they can function properly.
In order to hold the arm overhead, the arms muscles must be strong and engaged as well.
This is another asana that stretches and strengthens many areas of the body at once.
Encourages deep breathing into the side of your body, helping one to stretch from the inside of the ribs to create space from the inside. As the intercostal muscles are imperative to taking in full and complete breaths, this pose is excellent for improving one’s lung capacity.
People who have serious injuries or issues in the knees or hips, especially those that include the joints, should use extreme caution in this pose.
For those with mild pain or discomfort in the knees, bring a folded blanket under the knees.
Those with shoulder injuries can place the top hand on the hip instead of raising the arm to the ceiling.