CHENNAI: Parighasan — Gate lock posture. This is the first in the series of kneeling postures. The posture is challenging as it shifts your centre of gravity and moves your torso away from the pelvis. It resembles the cross beams of a gate, hence the name.
Starting from the Vajrasan sitting posture, kneel on the mat with your knees placed hip width apart. Fold the edge of the mat below your knees if they hurt. Keep your knees, pelvis and head in one straight line. Breathe normal for two cycles. Now extend your right leg out to the side. Place your right foot flat on the floor about three feet away from your left knee. Maintain your balance. Inhale and raise your arms to the shoulder level.
Allow your shoulders to stretch in either direction. Your palms turned towards the floor. Inhale and as you exhale stretch your right arm to the right and bend laterally to the right so that your right hand reaches towards your right ankle, shin or knee.
It’s not necessary to place the right hand on the leg you may maintain it a few inches away. Next exhale and turn the left palm to the ceiling and raise your left arm over your head towards the right side-left upper arm close to the ear, left fingers extending diagonally to the right side so that your left hand, arm, shoulder, side as well as left hip are in one straight line. Back of your head in line with your shoulder blades and tip your head to gaze up at your left hand. Find your balance as you breathe normal and hold.
(Advanced students may try to move the left arm and place it on the right hand, forearm or upper arm). Allow for more stretching at every exhalation. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Come back with an inhalation. First bring your left arm to the left side, then straighten your torso to the centre, lower your arms to the sides and bring your right leg to the mid line. Relax and sit back in vajrasan.
All side-bending postures are safe for the back. This posture stretches the pelvis and laterally flexes the abdomen. It’s an extreme side stretch.
(The writer is a yoga and fitness trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru)