Gate Pose is a side bend that stretches the entire side body and is suitable for students of all levels. The Sanskrit name for this pose, “Parighasana” (pahr-eee-GAHS-uh-nuh), comes from the word “parigha,” which refers to a bar or beam that is used to lock a gate. In the full version of the pose, your body mimics the look of a locked gate.
Kneel on the floor. Stretch your right leg out to the right and press the foot to the floor, or use a block for extra support if you can’t reach. Keep your left knee directly below your left hip (so the thigh is perpendicular to the floor), and align your right heel with the left knee. Turn your pelvis slightly to the right (so the left hip point comes forward of the right), but turn your upper torso back to the left. Point the kneecap toward the ceiling, which will require you to turn your right leg out.
As you inhale, bring your arms out to your sides, parallel to the floor, palms down. Bend to the right over the plane of the right leg and lay your right hand down on the shin, ankle, or the floor outside the right leg. Contract the right side of the torso and stretch the left. Place your left hand on the outer left hip and push the pelvis down toward the floor. Then slip the hand up to the lower left ribs and lift them toward the shoulder, creating space in the left waist.
With an inhalation, sweep the left arm over the back of the left ear. The side bend tends to drop the torso toward the floor. Without pushing the left hip back (continue to roll it slightly forward), turn the upper torso away from the floor.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Come up as you inhale, reaching through the top arm to draw the torso upright. Bring the right knee back beside the left, and repeat with the legs reversed.