Good Evening Readers!
Gate Pose is neglected a lot in yoga. If you are lucky enough to have a jammed studio, where the space between each mat is a bit of a squeeze for the teacher to even walk though, it is usually skipped to avoid the, “Omgsh- this person’s foot is on MY mat!” face.
However, Gate Pose, and the adaptation of Open Gate, is an incredible Heart Opener! It stretches the biceps and forearms, across the breadth of the chest and into the armpits, and helps to lubricate the shoulder joints and shoulder blades, which, let’s face it, need some TLC after Chaturangas. Your shoulder joints are such a large and important part of your upper body, yet, just like some of us do with our knees and hips, we usually ignore them, until there is a problem.
Straps are your friend for Open Gate. Lots of people use Gate as a transition for Side Plank, and to open up your side body. However, to get into the stretch across the collarbones, SCMs and into the trapezius muscles, holding your arms above your head with the strap and straighten (but don’t lock! the elbows) and alternating from side to side, and back behind, helps move lymph out and fresh blood in. In fact, if you hold the strap so that your arms make a lovely 90 degrees triangle, and remain there for several breaths, you will feel a flood of warmth when you release it. This warmth is… insert Twilight-esque sexy voice… Blood. Shudder.
If you are a weight lifter and dedicate much time to your pectorals- boys- this Heart Opener will quickly become your favorite. It has all the same benefits as a door stretch, but with your body planted on the floor between your knee and foot. However, this might test the balance of some students especially if you use it as a dynamic, moving posture. It is similar to spotting while turning in ballet. Your drishti will move with your arms, and frankly, this is a good practice for those who wobble in the transition of Warrior 2 to Reverse Warrior 2.
Chest pain is sometimes caused between overworked costal cartilage between your sternum and your ribs. If your intercostal muscles and tendons around that cartilage aren’t flexible due to neglect, dehydration, and perhaps even lactic acid, it can be dangerous and can cause injury. However, being kind to those muscles and the cartilage between them and your body’s framework (your bones), can result in positive results for your ribcage and lungs. For peeps with asthma = yay!! Therefore, take Open Gate to give your body the gentle pull it needs. Your Open Heart and thus, Open Lungs and Open Shoulders, will thank you!
Namaste for Now!