Rolling. Self-massage. Myofascial release. There are various terms for what we do in our Recharge format: use Yoga Tune Up Therapy balls to release tension from muscles, work out knots or sticky spots and help the body move better.
Recharge is a huge passion of mine. As a Type A+++ person, the ability to SLOW down and do anything other than run a million miles a minute was not in my DNA. But like I always say in class, the more you avoid something, the more you need it, typically. And that was exactly the realization I had when I discovered rolling.
Recharge is beneficial for many reasons, but here are four of my favorites:
Mobility is a huge part of overall health and a big contributor to how you feel. You might have heard about mobility in relation to a loss of mobility, which can happen due to injury or simply as we age. However, research shows that mobility is as fundamental to your fitness as strength, flexibility and balance.
If you want to be functional, feel great outside of your 1-hour workout, or just feel better within your body, you need to dedicate time to working on mobility. Got aches and pains? Rolling may be your answer!
The balls in combination with the techniques we apply allow you to access and release almost every part of the body. It’s like getting a massage, but you can do it yourself, anytime, anywhere! Improved mobility = reduced pain. Moreover, rolling increases blood flow, improves circulation and joint function and benefits the lymphatic system, which translates into a stronger immune system.
I can honestly say I have learned more about the human body (and my body) in my 2 1/2 years of regular rolling than I’ve learned from any other training I’ve participated in. Learning by doing is HUGE. Place the ball. Mobilize the joint. Pay attention to how things are connected. A few real-life a-ha moments include:
+ The pain in my big toe during running was actually coming from a tight spot in the arch of my foot. Since I starting rolling that spot, my foot pain is gone.
+ I hold a lot of tension in my jaw. But I didn’t realize this until I put a ball there and discovered just how much stress I absorb into my body in this spot.
+ Rolling can improve your squats and chaturanga push-ups. How well you do these is highly dependent on mobility — of your shins for squats and your forearms for push-ups. Rolling these areas significantly enhances performance and alignment in these exercises.
3. Pain Management and Prevention
Putting a ball somewhere on the body is eye opening because you very often highlight a “blind spot,” or an area that you had no idea was tight or stiff. This is your chance to work on it before it becomes a bigger issue and you can’t stop noticing it.
If you can incorporate rolling into your regular practice, you have a great chance of avoiding pain and injuries. If you’re already experiencing pain, rolling is great way to break down the barriers (and fascial knots and adhesions) to improve mobility and reduce pain!
Recharge is a moving mediation. Lying in stillness, bringing my attention to one small part of my body and focusing on not focusing on anything can be a challenge. But with Recharge, I get down-regulation for the brain and body and also work on the kinks, so it truly is a win-win. Moreover, practicing the shift from the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest and restore) system in Recharge has supported my ability to make that shift in other areas of life, namely bedtime.
Side note: the creator of the “FasciaBlaster” claims that it reduces the appearance of cellulite, Although this is not a statement I’d be comfortable making as it can be a little misleading, it does contain a kernel of truth. Fluid retention, storage of toxins and poor circulation contribute to the appearance of cellulite, which can be reduced by rolling. Granted, some additional lifestyle changes need to take place, but yes, a regular rolling practice can reduce the appearance of cellulite. There, I said it.
Whatever your motivation, I encourage you to incorporate rolling into your personal practice. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is worth investing in a few minutes of regular rolling to get a pain-free future. Plus, ball jokes are fun. 😉