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Parighasana (Gate Pose): Meaning, Steps, and Benefits

Yoga is a journey of self-discovery and physical well-being, offering a wide array of poses that can transform your body and mind. One such pose that exemplifies this transformative power is Parighasana, also known as Gate Pose. This beautiful asana, with its elegant alignment and symbolic meaning, invites you to open the gateways to your true self. In this blog post, we will explore the essence of Parighasana, the steps to perform it, its benefits, variations, modifications, and much more. So, let's unlock the gate and dive into the world of Parighasana!

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

What Is Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Parighasana, derived from the Sanskrit words "parigha" meaning "gate" and "asana" meaning "pose," embodies the graceful stance of a gatekeeper. In this pose, your body takes on the shape of a gate, symbolizing the opening of new possibilities and the exploration of uncharted territories. It is a lateral stretch that primarily targets the sides of your body, opening up your heart and lungs while simultaneously grounding and stabilizing your legs.


How to Perform Parighasana

  1. Start by kneeling on your mat. Place your knees hip-width apart, keeping your thighs perpendicular to the floor.

  2. Extend your right leg straight out to the right, aligning it with your right hip. Keep your foot grounded firmly on the mat.

  3. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, extend your right arm up and over your head, reaching towards the left side of the room. Allow your right palm to face down, opening your chest and expanding your heart space.

  4. Engage your core muscles and lean your torso gently towards the left side, maintaining a straight line from your right fingertips to your right knee.

  5. To deepen the stretch, you can gently slide your left hand down your left leg, allowing it to rest on your shin or ankle. Avoid putting excessive pressure on your left knee.

  6. Hold the pose for 5 to 8 breaths, feeling the gentle expansion of your ribcage and the lengthening of the right side body.

  7. To release the pose, inhale deeply, and as you exhale, slowly bring your right arm down, returning to the starting position. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side.

 Parighasana (Gate Pose)

When to Do It?

Parighasana can be practiced at any time of the day. However, it is best performed on an empty stomach. If you're practicing it as part of a yoga sequence, it's ideal to perform Parighasana towards the middle or end of your practice when your body is warmed up and flexible.


Preparatory Poses

To prepare your body for Parighasana, you can incorporate the following poses into your practice:

  1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose): This simple cross-legged seated position helps to ground and center your body, preparing you for the more dynamic movements of Parighasana.

  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): Downward Dog stretches and lengthens the entire body, increasing flexibility in the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.

  3. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose): This standing pose opens your hips and strengthens your legs, creating a solid foundation for Parighasana.

Follow-up Poses

To continue the flow and maximize the benefits of Parighasana, you can incorporate these poses into your sequence:

  1. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose): This pose expands your chest and stretches your hamstrings, complementing the side-stretching action of Parighasana.

  2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Cobra Pose opens your heart and stimulates your abdominal organs, enhancing the sense of openness created by Parighasana.

Chakra

Parighasana stimulates and balances the energy of the Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra. Located in the area of your navel, this chakra is associated with personal power, self-confidence, and transformation. By practicing Parighasana, you activate and unlock the potential of this energy center, allowing your authentic self to shine brightly.

Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Mantra

While there isn't a specific mantra solely for Parighasana, you can enhance your experience by incorporating a mantra related to self-empowerment and opening new pathways. One powerful mantra you can chant silently or aloud is "Om Ram Ramaya Namaha." This mantra invokes the energy of Lord Rama, who represents courage, strength, and inner transformation.


Alignment Cues

To ensure proper alignment and avoid strain or injury, keep the following alignment cues in mind while practicing Parighasana:

  1. Maintain a strong foundation by grounding your kneeling leg and ensuring your knee is directly below your hip.

  2. As you extend your arm overhead, keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Feel the lengthening sensation through your entire side body.

  3. Engage your core muscles throughout the pose to provide stability and support for your spine.

  4. Avoid collapsing into your lower back. Instead, lengthen your tailbone towards the floor and lift through your sternum, creating a gentle arch in your upper back.

  5. Keep your neck in line with your spine and gaze forward or slightly upwards, finding a focal point (drishti) to aid in concentration.

Duration of Hold

Hold Parighasana for 5 to 8 breaths on each side. As you become more comfortable with the pose, you can gradually increase the duration of the hold, allowing for a deeper stretch and connection.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Parighasana not only stretches and strengthens your physical body but also invites a deeper sense of self-awareness. As you move into the pose, bring your attention to the following physical and spiritual sensations:

  1. Feel the gentle stretch along the sides of your body, from your fingertips to your toes. Observe the opening and expansion happening within you.

  2. Connect with your breath. Notice how it flows effortlessly through your body, nurturing and energizing you with each inhale and exhale.

  3. Embrace the symbolism of the gate. Visualize yourself opening the gates of possibility and stepping into a new realm of self-discovery and transformation.

Beginners' Tips

If you're new to Parighasana, here are some helpful tips to make your practice more accessible and enjoyable:

  1. Use a folded blanket or cushion under your kneeling leg for added support and to reduce any discomfort.

  2. Start with a smaller side bend and gradually increase the intensity of the stretch as your body becomes more flexible.

  3. Keep your breath steady and relaxed throughout the pose. Use it as a tool to calm your mind and deepen your connection with the present moment.

Who Should Not Do It?

While Parighasana offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any of the following conditions, it is best to avoid this pose:

  1. Knee injuries or pain: Parighasana places some pressure on the knee joint, so it's essential to avoid this pose if you have any knee issues.

  2. Hip injuries or pain: If you have hip problems, such as bursitis or hip impingement, consult with a yoga teacher or healthcare professional before attempting Parighasana.

  3. High or low blood pressure: As the pose involves a lateral stretch and can affect blood flow, it is advisable to avoid Parighasana if you have uncontrolled high or low blood pressure.

Who Should Do It?

Parighasana is generally safe for individuals with no pre-existing conditions or injuries that would contraindicate the pose. It is suitable for practitioners of all levels, including beginners. As always, listen to your body and modify the pose as needed to suit your individual needs.


Benefits of Parighasana (Gate Pose)

  1. Side-body stretch: Parighasana deeply stretches the intercostal muscles and obliques, increasing flexibility and mobility in the torso.

  2. Spinal alignment: The lateral extension in Parighasana helps to lengthen and align the spine, improving posture and reducing back pain.

  3. Digestive health: This pose stimulates the abdominal organs, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy digestive system.

  4. Heart and lung opening: By expanding the chest and lungs, Parighasana improves breathing capacity and circulation, promoting overall cardiovascular health.

  5. Energy activation: The lateral stretch in Parighasana activates the energy pathways within the body, revitalizing and invigorating your entire being.

Variations of Parighasana (Gate Pose)


Utthita Parighasana (Extended Gate Pose)

Utthita Parighasana, also known as Extended Gate Pose, combines the elegance of Parighasana with an extended stretch. Let's dive into its meaning and a step-by-step guide to practice this pose. Utthita Parighasana symbolizes expanding beyond our limitations and reaching for new heights. It represents the opening of gateways to our potential and the courage to explore uncharted territories.


How to Perform Utthita Parighasana

  1. Begin in Parighasana (Gate Pose), with your right leg extended to the side and your left knee bent.

  2. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, reach your right arm overhead, creating an extended stretch along the entire side of your body.

  3. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, maintaining a sense of grace and poise.

  4. Engage your core to stabilize your body and find balance in the pose.

  5. Ground your kneeling leg firmly, ensuring your knee is directly below your hip.

  6. Embrace the lengthening sensation in your side body as you explore the expansiveness within.

  7. Take several deep breaths, allowing the energy to flow freely through your extended form.

  8. To release, gently lower your right arm and return to Parighasana.

  9. Repeat the same steps on the other side, extending your left leg and reaching your left arm overhead.

Parivrtta Parighasana (Revolving Gate Pose)

Parivrtta Parighasana, also known as Revolving Gate Pose, combines the grace of Parighasana with a twist. Let's explore its meaning and a step-by-step guide to practice this pose. Parivrtta Parighasana represents the opening of new pathways while embracing change. It symbolizes the courage to step out of our comfort zones and explore the unknown, allowing transformation to unfold.

Parivrtta Parighasana (Revolving Gate Pose)

How to Perform Parivrtta Parighasana

  1. Begin in Parighasana (Gate Pose), with your right leg extended and your left knee bent.

  2. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh.

  3. Press your left hand into your thigh to support the twist as you extend your right arm up towards the sky.

  4. Exhale, and slowly twist your torso to the right, allowing your gaze to follow your right fingertips.

  5. Maintain a steady breath and engage your core to support the twist.

  6. Hold the pose for several breaths, feeling the opening and revitalizing energy flowing through your body.

  7. To release, gently unwind the twist, bringing your right arm down and returning to Parighasana.

  8. Repeat the same steps on the other side, extending your left leg and twisting towards the left.

Modifications for Parighasana (Gate Pose)

If you experience any difficulty or discomfort in Parighasana, you can try these modifications:

  1. Use a prop: Place a yoga block or bolster beneath your bottom hand to provide support and stability as you reach overhead.

  2. Bend your bottom knee: If your hamstrings are tight or you have difficulty kneeling, you can bend the knee of your grounding leg to lessen the stretch and pressure on your knee joint.

Common Mistakes

To make the most of your Parighasana practice, be mindful of these common mistakes and avoid them:

  1. Collapsing the chest: Keep your chest open and expanded throughout the pose. Avoid hunching your shoulders or rounding your upper back.

  2. Overarching the lower back: Maintain a gentle lengthening of your lower spine, avoiding excessive arching or compression in the lower back.

  3. Straining the neck: Keep your neck in line with your spine, avoiding any unnecessary tension or strain.

Safety and Precautions

To practice Parighasana safely, consider the following precautions:

  1. If you have any specific medical conditions or injuries, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or an experienced yoga teacher before attempting Parighasana.

  2. Listen to your body's limitations and respect your personal boundaries. Do not force or push beyond your comfort level. Remember that yoga is a journey of self-discovery, not a competition.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face: When practicing Parighasana, it is beneficial to face the east or the north. The east represents new beginnings and the rising sun, symbolizes fresh possibilities. The North is associated with stability and spiritual growth. Facing these directions can enhance your connection to the energy and intention of the pose.

What to Wear: Choose comfortable and flexible clothing that allows for unrestricted movement. Opt for clothing made from breathable materials that allow your skin to breathe and absorb sweat easily. Wearing stretchy leggings or yoga pants paired with a breathable top is an excellent choice for practicing Parighasana.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Find a quiet and peaceful space where you can practice Parighasana without distractions. Ideally, choose a well-ventilated area with sufficient natural light. Enhance your practice by diffusing essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, or sandalwood, which can promote relaxation, focus, and a sense of grounding.

Music: Select soothing and instrumental music, such as soft piano or gentle flute melodies. You can also explore yoga-inspired playlists available on streaming platforms, specifically designed to create a serene and tranquil atmosphere for your practice.


Parighasana, the Gate Pose, invites you to open the gates of possibility within yourself. As you gracefully stretch and expand through this pose, embrace the opportunity for self-discovery and transformation. Let Parighasana guide you toward a deeper connection with your body, mind, and spirit. Remember, it's not about how far you can stretch, but about the inward journey and the awareness you cultivate along the way. So, unlock the gate, step through, and embark on a beautiful and transformative yoga adventure.


Happy yoga-ing, everyone!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! My name is Pooja Chauhan

I am a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of my own heritage to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing my culture with the world.

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