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What is the Gate Pose (Parighasana) in Yoga? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Gate pose helps in toning your thighs and calves. (Image via Pexels / Kampus Production)
Gate pose helps in toning your thighs and calves. (Image via Pexels / Kampus Production)
Soniya Y

Gate Pose and Parighasana are intermediate-level asanas in the Ashtanga Yoga series.

The name Parighasana translates to 'gateway to the body'. It's one of the standing poses that comes from the Ashtanga sequence, as opposed to poses traditionally performed seated on the floor.

This pose helps in toning the calves, thighs and hips. The deep muscles โ€“ your transverse abdominus, obliques and rectus abdominus โ€“ surrounding your abdominal organs get stronger.


How to Do Gate Pose: Correct Form

The essence of this pose involves a rotating movement through the spine as you create a deep counter-twisting action that lengthens your torso.

It's also a great pose to help you open up your shoulders and give them a wonderful stretch while you integrate strength with flexibility.

To do the gate pose:

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  • Come into a kneeling position, with your left leg bent and the right leg straight.
  • Bend forward from your hips (not from your waist) with a flat back, and place a blanket under your knees for support.
  • Extend your right leg to the side, keeping the knee over the ankle and toes pointing forward so that it's parallel to the floor. Reach up with your left arm.
  • Exhale, and lean your torso to the right, stretching the left arm over your head. Your right arm should come down and rest on your right thigh.
  • Gaze up under your left arm as you continue to breathe deeply.
  • Stretch your spine during inhalation, and deepen the side stretch while exhaling.
  • Bring your torso upright; rest both knees next to each other, and repeat on the other side.

Tips and Techniques for Gate Pose

Gate Pose, also known as Parighasana, opens the sides of your torso, helping to create symmetry throughout the rest of your body.

When practicing this pose, keep the following tips and techniques in mind:

  • Squatting in a wide stance, extend your arms out to the sides, and place your hands on the ground.
  • Keeping your toes and knees aligned over the ankles, slowly lower your torso till it's parallel to the floor.
  • Keep in mind that you may only be able to go down an inch or two at first, but this small movement will still bring you the benefits of this pose.
  • Do not rest your hand on your knee immediately. Doing so would place too much pressure on the joint.
  • To assist in relaxing and stretching your intercostal muscles even more, practice Three-Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama) before and after the posture.
  • Take note of how your breathing capacity changes before and after the stretch.
  • Maintain an open and raising torso. Do not let your shoulders or chest fall forward.

Gate Pose Benefits

With all of the stretching and activation of various muscles, Parighasana (Gate Pose) offers many benefits, which are listed below:

1) Stregthen & stretches your body

Helps in stretching and strengthening your muscles. (Image via Pexels / Elina Fairytale)
Helps in stretching and strengthening your muscles. (Image via Pexels / Elina Fairytale)

Parighasana stretches, strengthens and lengthens various portions of the body. It stretches the hamstrings, calves and inner thigh on the outstretched leg.

It stretches the psoas muscles (hip flexors), outer thighs (quadriceps), obliques, intercostal muscles, triceps and latissimus dorsi on the side with the knee on the floor (the largest muscle of the back).

2) Improves Flexibility and Range of Motion (ROM)

Provides better range of motion (ROM). Image via Pexels / Artem Beliaikin)
Provides better range of motion (ROM). Image via Pexels / Artem Beliaikin)

Gate Pose is a hip opener, as it promotes lateral hip flexor extension. Lateral stretches target the 'Quadratus Lumborum,' which runs from the pelvic floor to the bottom rib. It's one of the key causes of lower back discomfort and is responsible for pelvic stabilisation.

3) Improves Alignment and Posture

Improves alignment and posture of your body. (Image via Pexels / Miriam Alonso)
Improves alignment and posture of your body. (Image via Pexels / Miriam Alonso)

The deeper pelvic muscles are engaged in Gate Pose (and strengthen the glutes). This slight change in alignment allows the hips to open even further. It can be included in sessions for people who spend a lot of time sitting (at work or on the road) as well as young yoga students.

4) Therapy & Healing

Gate Pose boost bod's immunity. (Image via Pexels / Kampus Production)
Gate Pose boost bod's immunity. (Image via Pexels / Kampus Production)

Parighasana helps the body's immunity in many ways. To begin with, as the chest may expand more than before, it aids in the proper functioning of the respiratory system.

Over time, that helps minimise the frequency and severity of allergies. Secondly, moving the arm overhead stimulates the lymphatic system, as the armpit contains lymph nodes, which are key for the body's immunity.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

To get the most out of this pose and reduce stress, avoid making these mistakes:

A firm grip

Avoid putting too much weight on the hand that is resting on your leg. Maintain a soft touch to keep your core moving, and avoid putting pressure on your knee.

Chest or Shoulders Dropping

Your chest should be open, and your torso should be parallel to your thigh. Allowing your shoulders or chest to sag forward is not a good idea.


Bottom Line

Gate Pose is a simple pose with great benefits, which makes it appealing to practitioners of all yoga levels.

While the pose can be challenging to balance, it forces you to focus your attention and centre yourself before moving into deeper poses. It can improve your breathing and help you while doing various activities. With consistent practice, this pose will transform your everyday life.


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Edited by Bhargav

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