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Prenatal Yoga: Open Gate Pose

Parighasana variation : open gate pose

This variation of gate pose frees the spine and hips for breath and life to flow. The spine is twisted, but belly is not, preserving safe space for your baby. High kneeling, extend right leg, foot in line with left knee, toes facing forward. Extend your arms out from shoulders and follow an exhalation to reach right fingertips to the floor outside of the left knee. Right arm extends overhead. Stretch along the right leg, rooting down. Gaze is to the floor, straight ahead or to the sky. Breath down into the pelvic floor and stay for 30 to 60 seconds, resting with two or three steady, full breaths between sides.

Open gate pose is invigorating. Intercostal muscles between the ribs are made supple and strong, improving circulation and accessing deep, primal breath. The pelvic muscles are stretched and tonified. Abdominal organs are rejuvenated and oxygenated with a gentle, open twist. The hand that reaches for the earth is the quiet side of the pose, calmly supporting and softening outer hips and thighs. Kneel on a blanket for comfort and support. For days when your back is not feeling supple, and later stages of pregnancy, place a block or big book under your hand for a subtler side-bend. Focus your attention on grounding, rather than reaching, to keep breath and mind calm.

photo: courtesy of Zoe Zimmerman

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