Open your hips, hamstrings and ribs with Gate Pose – a lovely side stretch with many helpful benefits…
Gate Pose (Parighasana) is a great beginner yoga pose for runners, those who are pregnant, or anyone with tight hamstrings or thigh muscles. This pose provides a great stretch for the often-neglected intercostal muscles between the ribs, as well as the inner thighs and hamstrings. This is also a good one for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting, either driving or at a computer, and it’s a good stretch to do on long road trips whenever you take a break.
Be careful that you are stretching the sides – don’t allow your chest or shoulders to round forward in the pose, and don’t rest weight on your lower hand, which could put pressure on your knee. Instead, use your core to keep you upright during the pose, and use your hand only for balance.
If you are not able to kneel, you can also do a seated version of this pose by sitting in a chair and extending one leg to the side as you perform the side stretch.
Those who suffer from a recent or chronic knee, hip, or shoulder injury should avoid this pose. If you have a neck injury, look straight ahead in the pose, rather than towards the lifted arm. Remember to use common sense, listen to your body, and if something hurts, back off.
How to Do Gate Pose:
- Come into an upright kneeling position with your thighs perpendicular to the floor and your hips over the knees. Place a blanket under your knees if they are sensitive.
- Straighten your right leg as you extend it out to the right side, keeping the knee and ankle in line with your right hip.
- Turn your right toes forward so that the right foot is parallel to the side of your mat.
- Inhale and reach your left arm up next to your left ear.
- Exhale and lean your torso to the right, stretching the left arm over your head. Let your right arm come down and rest on your right leg.
- Bring your gaze up under your extended left arm.
- Stay for several breaths, extending your spine on your inhales and deepening the side stretch on your exhales.
- Bring your torso upright and return your right knee next to the left one.
- Repeat the stretch on your other side.
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