Parighasana (Gate Pose) energizes and lightens the side body and invites the breath to become truly three-dimensional. In Parighasana, the body resembles a cross beam. The asana stretches the intercostal muscles that connect the ribs. When these muscles are tight, which commonly happens when we cough and sneeze repeatedly or have poor posture, the rib cage's movement is restricted, and so is respiration. Elongating the intercostal muscles improves breathing; consequently, Parighasana helps respiratory problems usually associated with asthma, allergies, colds, and flu.
To take Gate Pose, stand on your knees. Stretch your right leg out to the right, with the heel of the foot on the floor and the toes stretching away from the body. Have the foot as flat on the floor as possible. Make sure the right leg is straight, with the knee facing the ceiling and the ankle in line with your right hip. Place the left knee directly below the left hip. Stretch both arms out to the sides, palms facing downward. In the front body, reach from your sternum through the chest muscles, lengthening along the biceps all the way into your thumbs.
After doing the pose once or twice, sit on a folded blanket or bolster to take several breaths. Have you awakened your side body? Can you feel how your intercostal muscles help lift the ribs as you inhale and then draw the ribs down as you exhale?