When you step into my yoga studio, you will more than likely find several students having arrived early before class having helped themselves to a few of our props before class begins. As students filter in for classes it has occurred to me that what I keep telling them (and what my amazing teachers keep saying as well) is release the netting on and in your body so you can function better in class.
Doesn’t matter what style class, for the last seven years- acuballs, along with foam rollers, are a staple in our studio and classes. “You can’t expect to use what is stuck and won’t move”, I often feel like a tape recorder, but giving my students information as to why and how to do anything is my number one focus, along with helping them achieve healthy movement patterns off the mat. Rolling our tissues is one more step in that direction.
So why should we foam roll?
- Foam rolling is the bridge between your lifestyle and what you push yourself to do. Be it run, yoga, cross fit, weight lift, whatever it is, bridging the gap is key. For many the two are like day and night; desk job for eight hours + commute + meals + leisure sitting = 12 to 14 hours of sedentary lifestyle, combine that with extreme action = disaster waiting to happen: injury, issue, pain, dysfunction, chronic pain and tightness. Like my students coming into class, getting their roll on allows them to start to wake up their tissues, reconnect their body and brain to help their yoga practice at every fold (ha-fold, get it J ). Anyone can bridge the gap, investing in a soft foam roller or acuball, you can roll anywhere: home while watching T.V., roll your feet under your desk at work, roll at yoga, roll before your run, roll after your run, roll before you go to bed-the possibilities are endless. I like to try to show my students how to incorporate things into their lives so eventually the gap isn’t so big and they were the reason for it.
- Foam rolling can assist your chiropractor and massage therapist. Releasing your tight tissues, or what I like to say “making your gravel driveway feel more like a paved one” will help your massage therapists not have to work so hard. Your therapists will spend sometimes half your appointment trying to break up your tight, plastic like fascia just to get to the underlying issues beneath. When you roll before your appointment not only will your tissues be more workable for the therapists, but you will get more bang for your buck as they can actually get to the issues at hand; and the likely hood of the newly formed tissues keeping shape is within reach more with use. As for your chiropractor, the two to three times a week you spend on his or her table will more than likely decrease as your body will hold the adjustment better. You can put a bone back in place a million times, but if the place you are trying to put it back into doesn’t have room, don’t expect your adjustments to hold anytime soon.
- Foam rolling increases the connection between our brain and our body’s. Our fascial system has ten times more proprioceptors (or feelers that react with the brain) than muscle tissue does. So that means that you want to increase the ability to feel in your body, to have what in yoga we call “body awareness”, it’s time to get rolling. Using a soft foam roller allows students to explore their bodies without damaging the tissues and instead increase circulation, awareness and release areas that would otherwise restrict them during class-it is a win-win. Plus you don’t need to be flexible to foam roll, so sorry no excuses here.
Foam rolling may be on trend, but the benefits are not. Want to learn all the in’s and out’s of foam rolling and using acuballs then check out my Roll This! The best guide to foam rolling and acuball use you will ever own. Want to learn more live? Inquire about hosting a one day live training for students, teachers, therapists on what fascia is exactly and where the research is heading when it comes to our fascial system plus all the in’s and out’s of these amazing tools.
Have a fascial-bulous day!
Yes! I have become such a huge fan of foam rolling (and using a lacrosse ball when sitting at work as well). Spending some time loosening up my t-spine is one of my favorite things to do on the roller after a long day at the office or after a particularly grueling workout.
The benefits of using it are just too many to list… improved range of motion (so fewer injuries as a result), improved blood flow and arterial stiffness, and much more.
Covered some of them in further detail here: http://www.yourworkoutbook.com/foam-roller-benefits/