Gate Pose  -Parighasana

Step by step

  • Kneel down, facing the long side of your mat. Stretch your left leg out to the side and externally rotate the leg so that your heel is on the mat with your knee and toes (foot flexed) pointing up.
  • Gently press your right hip forward and open your arms out to the side parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Inhale, lengthen the side waists and exhale, lower the left side body to the left leg, placing the hand down on the leg. Ground through the right knee.
  • As you inhale, lift your right arm up and over to the left, still pressing your right hip forward, knitting your ribs in and rotating your ribcage towards the ceiling. Look up, under the right arm or in front of you.
  • Stay for 5 to 10 breaths. 
  • To come out, extend through the top arm and come back to centre as you inhale.
  • Bring the knees back next to each other and repeat on the other side.

Beginners tips

  • 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.

Benefits

  • Stretches the calves, hamstrings, spine.
  • Opens the side body, chest and shoulders.
  • Stimulates the lungs and the abdominal organs.
  • Great for your balance.

Watch out for

  • If your knees are sensitive, kneel on a folded blanket.
  • Or if your knees are injured, you can do a chair variation of this pose. Ground your sitting bones on the chair, feet flat on the floor, or one leg stretched out to the side. Perform the same side bend and arm movements as in the full pose.
  • If you have any discomfort in your neck, avoid looking up, keep looking straight ahead or to the floor.

Variations

  • Try placing the left foot flat on the floor with the toes pointing forward.
  • 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.