Traditional Gate Pose is a deep bend where you lay the torso down on the extended leg and the opposite hip rotates slightly in. More commonly (in most of the classes I attend anyway), the name Gate Pose is used to describe a similar but more basic posture that focuses on a side bend at the waist. We will describe the second variation here.
Kneel down on the floor and extend your left leg out to the side with the left foot pointed out (Note: I like to point it out about 45 degrees, though Iyengar tells you to point it straight forward and others tell you to point it all the way out to 90 degrees. Really all you are doing in changing the rotation of the thigh is changing what part of the extended leg gets stretched, so if you know your own body well, you can choose what position is most beneficial for you). Press the outer edge of the foot firmly into the mat. It is important that no matter what foot position you take the knee and foot point in the same direction. On an inhale lift the arms out to the side with the palms facing down, the shoulder blades wide but relaxed.
As you exhale, bend from the waist and place the left hand on the left leg. Contract the left side of the torso and stretch the right. The right hip might come slightly (though not a lot) forward and that is generally ok, but keep the chest open to the side. On an exhale reach the right arm over the right ear with the palm facing down. Draw the shoulder blade down away from the ear. Ground firmly into the mat through the feet and breath into the extension of the side body.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!