Gate Pose / Parighasana
Step by step
- Kneel on the mat, facing the long side of your mat. Stretch your left leg out and externally rotate the leg so that your heel is on the mat with your knee and toes (foot flexed) pointing up.
- Turn your right hip slightly forward compared to the left hip. Keep the torso facing the centre, even slightly to the right
- Open your arms out to the side parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Inhale, lengthen the body and exhale, lower the left side of the body to left leg, placing the hand down on the left leg.
- Ground through the right knee.
- On an in-breath lift your right arm up and over to the left. Encourage the right hip to keep rolling forward a bit while at the same time opening the torso to the right, gazing under the right arm to the ceiling.
- Stay in this pose between the 5-10 breaths. To come out, inhale extending out through the top arm and come back to centre.
- Bring the knees back next to each other and repeat on the other side.
- For more stability use a wall for your stretched leg. Place the ball of your foot against the wall.
- Instead of placing your hand on your leg you can also use a block.
- Stretches the calves, hamstrings, spine.
- Opens the side body, chest and shoulders.
- Stimulates the lungs and the abdominal organs.
- Great for managing your love handles!
- Great for your balance.
Watch out for
- Be careful not to let your rib cage poke forward in the twist.
- Sensitive knees - try doubling the mat under your knees.
- Neck pain / dizziness - simply don't look up towards the ceiling, keep looking straight ahead or to the floor.
- Knee injuries: see below for an alternate pose.
- You can also place the left foot down on the floor with the toes pointing forward.
- If you have knee problems or injuries you can do a variation of this pose in a chair. place your legs out in front of you, knees at right angles. You can also stretch one leg out to the side. Then perform the same side bend and arm movements as in the full pose.
- For a more intense stretch, try using your core muscles to hold you in place, allowing your lower hand to hover above the extended leg.
- To deepen this pose, try leaning to the side over the straight leg, bringing the upper body as close as possible to the top of the leg.
- Complementary poses:
- Try it in class