Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Gate Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


Extend some loving attention to the side body that we often forget to stretch through Gate Pose, also known as Parighasana. This posture is especially good for stiff backs and relieving tension in the lower front sides of the abdomen.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Partnering

Parighasana

(Pronounced as "pah-ree-GAHS-anna")

The Sanskrit word parigha means "a strong bar or beam that shuts a gate." In this pose, your body takes the shape of a traditional lock, closing an imaginary gate.

How to do Gate Pose

Step One

Kneel down on your yoga mat, facing the long side of the mat. If you have slight discomfort in your knees, then you can place a yoga blanket under the knees to cushion them. Bring your knees and ankles together with the tops of your feet against the mat behind you. Straighten your right leg out to the right side with the sole of your right foot pressing into the floor. Adjust your right ankle to make it in line with your left knee. Rotate the right foot out so the toes point about 45 degrees to the right. Do not bend the right knee. Now try to rotate the right leg out from the hip so that your right kneecap faces the sky. Check your left knee to make sure that it remains directly underneath your left hip. Tuck your tailbone in underneath your pelvis.

Step Two

Inhale as you raise your arms up and out to the sides. Your palms face down while your hands and arms remain at shoulder level. Keep your arms straight. Take a few breaths. Then exhale as you bend down toward the right side. Maintaining straight arms, let the back of your right hand rest on the middle of your right shin. Your head will naturally come down so that the right ear begins to touch the right shoulder. Raise the left arm up straight over the head, making a 45-degree angle between your left arm and the ground. Elongate the entire left side of your torso.

Step Three

Turn your head to look straight up at the ceiling. Rotate your torso from the waist slightly upward and away from the floor. Push down through the left thigh to prevent the left hip from sticking out forward or leaning back. Your hips should stay in line with each other.

Step Four

You can stay in this position and hold it. If you are more flexible and feel ready to push on further, then continue to go deeper into the pose by sliding the back of your right hand all the way down to the top of your right foot. Then continue stretching the left arm further to the right side and all the way down until your can press your palms together with your head sandwiched between your arms. All the while, you do not disturb the positioning of your legs and do not collapse your torso down toward the floor. Continue looking slightly upward.

Hold the final posture for at least 30 seconds or longer when you gain more experience. Inhale as you lift your arms back up and come out of the pose. Repeat the same steps on the other side, holding the posture for the same amount of time on both sides.

Beginner's Tip:

If you cannot press the entire sole of your foot into the floor after you've extended your leg to the side, then you can place a sandbag or folded blanket under the arch of your foot. You can also press the ball of your foot against a wall for extra support.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Parighasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

If you have a serious knee injury less than 3 months old, or chronic inflammatory knee conditions, then it's best not to kneel on the floor. You can sit on the front edge of a chair instead. You have two options for your leg positioning while on the chair. Either you can keep your knees bent at 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor in front of you, or you can also stretch one of your legs out sideways to simulate the final position of the posture.

Benefits:

  • Stretches out tension in the oblique muscles and the sides of the torso
  • Lengthens the hamstrings
  • Creates space in the shoulder joints to help relieve shoulder pain

Partnering:

After you come into the pose, ask a partner to sit by your side near your extended right leg. They should hold your upper arm and pull it slightly toward them, and you should resist this pull by engaging your left thigh muscle and pushing back toward your left. While they pull you just enough to create some tension, they should also help rotate your torso back and up away from the floor to expand your chest and open your shoulders fully.

Next Pose:

Half Frog Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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