To do Gate Pose, Parighasana: Come down to the hands and knees on a mat, blanket, or rug for padding on the knees. Option to place an extra towel or folded-up yoga mat for more padding for the knee. Extend the right leg out and keep the left knee bent in line with the left hip. Align the right heel and left leg so that they are in one straight line. Flex the right toes towards the face so that the right knee is facing straight up towards the ceiling. Take a long and smooth inhale and exhale.
On another inhalation, lift the arms to the sides like wings with the palms facing down. Extend the palms in opposite directions while drawing the shoulder blades down the back. Feel the expansion in the area of the chest as well as noticing the length in the spine. Energetically, rotate the right hip towards the right leg, keeping the torso long and neutral. Feel the stretch and opening in the area of the left hip flexor.
Take another inhale breath while growing the crown of the head towards the ceiling. On an exhale, lean over to the right towards the extended leg. Allow the right palm to rest on the right leg, on the shin, the ankle or to the ground on the outside of the right foot or on a block. Bring the left arm up towards the ceiling. On an inhale, lengthen the crown of the head towards the ceiling. On an exhale, grow the torso longer, extending both arms over towards the right side.The left arm may brush the left ear. Continue to breathe and rotate and lift the left side of the torso up towards the ceiling. Bring the left pinky finger facing downward and bring awareness to the sensations and opening in the left shoulder when rotating the finger.
Option to keep the gaze down, towards the extended leg or up towards the lifted palm. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 rounds of breath (one inhale and one exhale equates to one round.) Create smooth and rhythmic breathing in order to find the balance of ease and effort in the pose. Slowly come out and bend the right knee to kneel on the ground. Repeat on the other side, while continuing to focus on the breath.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.