Moving through my thirty some years of personal yoga practice, I have definitely fallen into ruts and habits from time to time. It usually takes a good workshop to redirect my ways. A workshop is also a good vehicle to reenergize my practice and my teachings. Last week, I shared a portion of my newest discoveries. I hope that it was a spark to rekindle your yoga flame.
Today, I am continuing with the idea of stability and fluidity by focusing on the posture Parighasana or gateway pose. This sequence includes some of the key takeaway points I learned in my online Yoga Journal Master Class with Carrie Owerko. If you are looking for a fresh take on traditional postures, this is a worthwhile class.
I created my own warmup and added transitional poses to construct this unique sequence.
Centering and Warming Postures:
- Bananasana and Supta Hasta Padangusthasana are good precursors for any side bending standing poses but they are especially beneficial for Parighasana, which can be a more intensive lateral bend.
- Bananasana is a type of yin posture – one that you can remain static in for some time. As a warm-up, just spend a minute or two on each side.
- Supta Hasta Padangusthasana sounds complex but it is merely holding your foot with your hand or a strap. This pose is intended to extend the back of the leg. But when the leg moves out to the side, it can be used as an external hip rotator.
- To be honest, I never liked Parighasana (gateway pose) as much as I have liked it this week! With the right props and attention, it has already given me great benefits. Here, again, I refer to my online class with Carrie Owerko. She introduced five important variations that use a chair, wall space and a couple of blocks. The use of props is educating as well as supporting. By placing your extended leg foot at the wall or elevating it on blocks, you can discover your best position to formulate a base for your gateway pose. In addition, the chair or the wall can be a great tool for the upper body to use as traction for deepening the pose. The most beneficial variation for me was the one that connected the top of a folded chair with my hip crease to extend and support the movement of the pose. I found this especially helpful for the side of my body affected by a lumbar scoliosis curvature.
- Virasana (hero pose) is a great neutralizer for the body in-between asymmetrical poses. And one of the most aligning for the hips and legs. Lately, I am gravitating to it to bring me back to balance. Insert this pose as you move from side to side in the gateway variations.
- Trikonasana (triangle pose) will feel awesome after energizing and educating the side body in gateway.
Poses to Wind Down:
- Supported Balasana (child’s pose) creates a grounding and resting place after the lateral movements. Use props to keep the pose as comfortable as you can.
- Savasana (corpse pose) will feel delightful after creating the length and space for breath throughout this sequence. Let the body breathe you as you seal all of the efforts you have made in your practice.