Gate Pose (Parighasana)

Gate Pose (Sanskrit: Parighasana) is a kneeling side body stretch. Often when we think of stretching, we think only flexion or extension (forward or back bending).

However, it is important to stretch the sides as well, because this facilitates good breathing and a full range of motion!

Our bodies are capable of moving in more ways than we may think. We are three-dimensional beings, not just two.

Because Gate Pose stretches the side body and roots the legs, it is a grounding and energizing posture.

The Sanskrit word for this pose, Parighasana, translates to the “the bar to shut the gate”, meaning that the body is open yet supportive. Also, gates are symbolic of passageways and through the stretch of the side body, the body can also open in new and supportive ways.

The posture primarily targets the intercostal muscles, the little muscles located between each rib cage. When these muscles expand, it increases lung capacity so that breathing is full and deep. When we receive more oxygen to the body, we feel healthier and boost the immune system.

How to Do Gate Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Start in a kneeling position with the hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips.

Step 2

Swing the right leg open to the side with the toes pointed forward. Press off the hands and come to a kneeling position.

Step 3

Reach the arms out wide to a T position. Take an inhalation and as you exhale, lengthen the side body over the left leg. Place the left hand on the left leg and extend the right arm overhead.

Step 4

Breathe deeply into the side body and make sure you continue to roll the top half of the body back to avoid collapsing forward.

Gate Pose Benefits

  • Stretches rib cage, side torso, and shoulders
  • Strengthens the side body
  • Energizing
  • Stabilization of the lower body