“Gorilla” which is also known as Padahastasana, is a relaxing posture that is easy to perform. It is a wonderful posture for stretching the shoulders, legs, glutes and back, and is known for decreasing anxiety and increasing circulation throughout the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders.
Moving into the pose
1. Starting from a standing position, exhale as you fold forward at the waist, stretching your hands to your feet. Ideally your legs should be straight, but if that is too challenging, then be sure to bend your knees for comfort.
2. Slide your hands under your feet with your palms against the soles of your feet. Fingers should be stretching to your heels, and toes should be near your wrists.
3. Expand your chest as you inhale, bending your elbows and pulling your body towards your legs.
4. As you exhale straighten your legs and feel a stretch across your shoulders.
5. Take five to seven breathes in this posture, alternating through the above sequence.
Scan your body from head to toe
Your heels and the backs of your hands should be the only parts of your body touching the floor; your neck and shoulders should be relaxed, with legs and back straight. Breathe deeply and with control for five to seven breathes, focusing on relaxing any tense areas–the goal being to keep your muscles firm but not strained. To move out of the posture, slide your hands out from under your feet and inhale to a standing position.
Tip: If you are new to yoga, be sure to take it slow and not overexert yourself. Practice transitioning in and out of the postures with fluidity and control. All of your movements should be at the pace of your breath.
Anthony DiTomaso is an NCBTMB-certified massage therapist, Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, anatomy and physiology instructor, as well as professional fitness model. He is also an experienced instructor in personal training, nutrition education, energetic healing and Five Element and traditional Chinese medicine theory. DiTomaso has taught introductory massage courses and continuing education seminars for massage therapists and yogis throughout the U.S. He is the owner of Empowerment Unlimited Body Works Inc. and offers the DVD Yoga For Massage Therapists (www.yogaformassagetherapists.com).