Parighasana or Gate Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Parighasana, Gate Pose
Sanskrit
परिघासन / beam posture
Pronunciation
Par-ee-GOSS-anna
Meaning
parigha: “beam”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

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.

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Muscle Focus

Gate Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Chest Muscles (Pectoralis)
  • Oblique Muscles (Side Abdominal Muscles)
  • Erector Spinae (Spine Erectors)
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes (Hip muscles)
  • Shoulders (Deltoid)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Strengthens Obliques which helps to improve posture.
  • It stimulates various digestive organs hence improving digestion.
  • It helps to improve spine mobility.

Benefits of Parighasana or Gate Pose

1. Stretches the Obliques

Parighasana or Gate Pose stretches the oblique muscles that are found on either side of the abdominal region. This is a very important stretch for many people, as these muscles often get tight from sitting in chairs with our arms reaching forward to type or write.

2. Stretches the Lats

The latissimus dorsi muscle, one of the largest muscles in the body, is located under the back. It connects to your upper arm and helps you extend it backward and out to your side. The lats are stretched by Parighasana or Gate Pose.

3. Stretches the Psoas

Parighasana or Gate Pose stretches your psoas muscle that runs from above each hip bone to the lower spine. This is a very important stretch for many people as this muscle can become tight from sitting too much and lose its natural range of motion. When this happens, it puts pressure on our low back when we stand up causing pain and stiffness in these areas.

4. Increases Mobility in your Spine

Parighasana or Gate Pose increases the mobility of your spine by stretching out joints in the spine. As a result, Parighasana or Gate Pose increases flexibility in the back, which can help alleviate low back pain and other spinal problems.

5. Strengthens your Core

When you practice Parighasana or Gate Pose, you engage many muscles in your abdominal regions such as your obliques, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis muscles that are used to stabilize one side of your torso while lifting up and extending on the opposite side. These moves strengthen your core from all angles increasing strength throughout this area. Strengthening these muscles is important for improving posture as well as helping prevent injuries.

6. Stimulates Liver and Pancreas

Parighasana or Gate Pose stretches the side of your body from the hips to the fingers, which helps to open up and increase circulation in your internal organs. Parighasana or Gate Pose is thought to stimulate liver and pancreas function. It also massages abdominal muscles as well as other soft tissue including the bladder, intestines, kidneys, and spleen. This can help alleviate constipation and improve digestion.

7. Improves Circulation

Due to its deep opening through both sides of the body stretching from your pelvis all the way down into your fingers, Parighasana or Gate Pose increases blood flow throughout this area improving circulation there. This pose is a great way for you to stretch not only one side of your body but both sides.

8. Increases Mobility of Various Joints

Parighasana or Gate Pose increases the mobility of your spine by stretching out joints in the spine. Parighasana or Gate Pose can increase flexibility in the back, which can help alleviate low back pain as well as other spinal problems.

9. Stretches Legs

This pose stretches calves, hamstrings and opens shoulders making them more flexible. It is a wonderful way to stretch both sides of your body including calves and legs from hips down into fingertips helping improve circulation there too. This pose also helps you open up through your arms, chest, and shoulders improving their flexibility for better posture and a range of motion when lifting items off shelves above your heads.

Contraindications

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.

Variations

  • Revolved Gate Pose (Parivrtta Parighasana)
  • Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)

Preparatory Pose

  • Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
  • Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
  • Triangle Pose (Trioknasana)
  • Extended Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If straightening the right leg is a challenge try bending your knee and sliding the heel forward.
  • If you feel any discomfort in your knee, place a blanket under them.
  • The best way around this would be to practice regularly in order to increase the range of motion over time.

How to do Parighasana or Gate Pose

  • Start from a kneeling position, with the knees hip-width apart, step the right leg straight out to the side with the foot flat on the floor, toes facing the sidewall.
  • Inhale the left arm up to the ceiling, with the right hand resting palm down on the right leg.
  • Exhale the left arm to the right, dropping over the ear, and slide the right palm down towards your toes keeping your arms straight.
  • Press out through your left hip, press down into your foot and knee reach out through fingers and crown of the head.
  • Hold for five breaths before repeating on the other side.

Mental Benefits of Parighasana or Gate Pose

  • Focus
  • Inner stillness
  • Creates a sense of peace

Bottom Line

Gate pose is an intermediate-level yoga pose that stretches and strengthens your glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, calves, chest, spine, and neck. It also stimulates the liver pancreas and improves circulation throughout your body. This pose is excellent for improving posture and a range of motion when lifting items off shelves above your head. Do not perform this pose if you have any injuries in your shoulders or back. Pregnant women should avoid this pose.

1 sources
  1. https://synapse.koreamed.org/articles/1101087
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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