Parighasana (Gate Pose) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Asanas (Yoga Poses) Glossary

I. What is Parighasana (Gate Pose)?

Parighasana, also known as Gate Pose, is a yoga asana that involves stretching the body sideways. The name “Parighasana” is derived from the Sanskrit words “parigha,” which means “gate,” and “asana,” which means “pose.” This pose resembles a gate, with one leg extended out to the side and the arms reaching overhead. Parighasana is a beginner-friendly pose that helps improve flexibility in the spine, hips, and shoulders.

II. How to Perform Parighasana?

To perform Parighasana, follow these steps:

1. Begin by kneeling on the floor with your knees hip-width apart.
2. Extend your right leg out to the side, keeping the foot flat on the floor.
3. Inhale and raise your left arm overhead, reaching towards the ceiling.
4. Exhale and slowly bend your torso to the right, sliding your right hand down your right leg.
5. Keep your left arm extended overhead, creating a straight line from your left fingertips to your left foot.
6. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, then slowly return to the starting position.
7. Repeat on the other side.

III. What are the Benefits of Practicing Parighasana?

Practicing Parighasana offers a variety of benefits for the body and mind. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Improved flexibility in the spine, hips, and shoulders.
2. Strengthening of the core muscles.
3. Stretching of the side body, helping to relieve tension and improve posture.
4. Stimulating the digestive organs, aiding in digestion.
5. Calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety.

IV. What Muscles are Targeted in Parighasana?

Parighasana primarily targets the following muscles:

1. Side body muscles: The obliques and intercostal muscles are stretched and strengthened in Parighasana.
2. Hip muscles: The adductors and abductors are engaged as the leg is extended out to the side.
3. Shoulder muscles: The deltoids and trapezius muscles are stretched as the arms reach overhead.
4. Core muscles: The rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis are engaged to support the spine in the side bend.

V. What are Some Variations of Parighasana?

There are several variations of Parighasana that can be practiced to modify the pose or add a challenge. Some common variations include:

1. Extended Gate Pose: In this variation, the top arm is extended overhead, creating a longer line from the fingertips to the foot.
2. Revolved Gate Pose: In this variation, the torso is twisted towards the extended leg, deepening the stretch in the side body.
3. Half Gate Pose: In this variation, only one arm is raised overhead, while the other arm rests on the extended leg for support.

VI. Precautions and Contraindications for Parighasana

While Parighasana is generally safe for most people, there are some precautions and contraindications to keep in mind:

1. Avoid practicing Parighasana if you have a knee, hip, or shoulder injury.
2. If you have high or low blood pressure, practice the pose with caution and avoid holding the pose for an extended period.
3. Pregnant women should avoid deep side bends and twists, so it is best to skip Parighasana during pregnancy.
4. If you experience any pain or discomfort while practicing Parighasana, come out of the pose slowly and seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor.

In conclusion, Parighasana is a beneficial yoga pose that can help improve flexibility, strength, and posture. By practicing this pose regularly and with mindfulness, you can experience the many physical and mental benefits it has to offer. Remember to listen to your body, modify the pose as needed, and always practice with awareness and care.