What is Parighasana?
Parighasana, also known as the Gate Pose, is a kneeling asana in modern yoga that gives intense lateral stretch to the sides of your body along with your core, hips, and legs.
When you perform this asana, your stretched body and hands look like the lateral crossbars of a gate. It symbolises the same solidity and stability in your body.
Parighasana yoga asana gets its name from the Sanskrit terms ‘parigha’ meaning gates and ‘asana’ meaning posture. This Parighasana ashtanga asana is said to be inspired by the gymnastics culture of the 1920s and is likely honed by Krishnamacharya into a yoga pose.
Who can do Parighasana?
Parighasana yoga pose can be done by a variety of people including:
- Pregnant women (with modifications to Parighasana ashtanga)
- People who want to improve their respiratory problems.
- Those who suffer from frequent digestive disorders.
- People who want to lose weight.
- Those who want to include deep breathing in their routine.
- People who want to enhance their range of motion.
Who should avoid Parighasana?
If you suffer from any of these conditions, you must avoid doing the Parighasana Pose without consulting your doctor:
- Injury or inflammation in the knee, wrist, hips, shoulders, or neck.
- Recent surgery.
- Lower back pain.
- Any spinal problem
How is Parighasana done?
Just like any other yoga pose, you need to master the steps of the Gate Pose not to just do the asana correctly but also to avoid injuries and muscle strain.
Here is a detailed explanation of Parighasana steps:
- Begin the Parighasana yoga pose by kneeling on a yoga mat. Your torso must be stable and upright and hands placed beside the hips.
- Stretch your right leg slowly outwards. Keep your ankle in line with the left knee and torso. Grip your left foot firmly on the floor and straighten your right knee.
- Take a deep breath and stretch your arms on your sides.
- Exhale deeply and move your trunk on the right side in the direction of the stretched right leg. Rest your right forearm and wrist on the right shin and ankle respectively. Your right palm must be facing upside.
- Slowly raise your left palm over the head and stretch it as much as you comfortably can.
- Tilt your head slowly upwards.
- Hold the Gate Pose yoga for 30-60 seconds while breathing normally.
- Repeat on the other side.
What are the variations of Parighasana?
Depending on your flexibility levels and objectives, you can try Parighasana variations to make the pose easy or challenging.
Here are some Gate Pose variations for you to try:
- Parivrtta Parighasana: This is one of the challenging Parighasana variations and is an intermediate level pose. This is an effective asana to stretch your quads and hamstrings and reduce lower back pain.
- Follow the first two steps of the traditional Parighasana pose.
- Bend your back slowly backwards and place your right hand next to the right ankle.
- Extend your left leg.
- Stretch your left arm over your head and arch your spine as much as you comfortably can.
- Your body must be supported on your right leg and arm.
- Repeat this on the other side.
- Parighasana with side plank: This is an intermediate level pose in which you need to assume the side plank position. This Gate Pose variation gives your sides a good stretch and improves your balance.
- Kneel on the yoga mat and lean onto your left side. Place your left palm on the ground and raise your right arm straight into the air.
- Balance your body and twist to the right side.
- Bend your elbow and place your hand behind the head to support it.
- Gaze towards the sky.
- Hold the pose for 20-40 seconds as you breathe deeply.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Why should you do Parighasana?
Parighasana yoga pose has immense benefits not just for your physical fitness but also for your overall quality of life.
Here are some good reasons to include this asana in your workouts:
- One of the most important Parighasana benefits is that it opens up your lungs and promotes better respiration. This is beneficial for people who suffer from COPD or asthma.
- Since it involves sideways bending, the Gate Pose yoga gives your digestive organs a good stretch and stimulation. When practised regularly, this prevents and cures conditions such as IBS, gas, and constipation.
- One of the most effective Parighasana benefits is that it stimulates your chest region making your cardiovascular system healthy and free of diseases.
- One of the most important benefits of Parighasana is that it massages organs such as your pancreas, intestines, stomach, spleen, liver, and kidneys. This keeps your hormonal balance intact and prevents the risk of diseases of these organs.
- Gate Pose benefits those who suffer from lower back pain and stiffness. By stretching your back, it not just cures these issues but also corrects your posture.
- Since Parighasana gives your whole body a good stretch, it helps you lose weight. This prevents the risk of obesity-related disorders.
- Since you don’t need an elaborate set-up for doing this asana, it can easily be included in your home workouts.
How to do Parighasana safely?
Here are some things to keep in mind to do the asana correctly and gain the benefits of Parighasana:
- Since this is a deep stretching pose, prep your body by practising asanas such as Virasana or Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- In case you have pain or limited range of motion, use props like a cushion, bolster, or do this asana sitting on a chair.
- Never hyperextend your body, especially while doing yoga for beginners.
- Learn Parighasana steps from an experienced trainer. You can also join online yoga classes.
Parighasana is an amazing stretching asana to include in your daily routine. It is easy to learn and keeps you energized. However, to gain the Gate Pose benefits it is important to keep yourself challenged and be consistent with your practice.
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