Roll & Release Yoga with Mimi
by Mimi, a yoga teacher & personal trainer
I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who would get a massage every day if I could! I love the feeling of being kneaded through, and although I practice regular Yoga to stay bendy, content and sane, getting a massage still hits slightly different spots and thus creates that feeling of ease.
But lets be honest here, life gets busy, and realistically getting a massage is more like a special treatment every now and then.
So today I want to share my secret to getting that same beautiful feeling at home and at anytime. All you need are these magical little tools: balls, block and your breath.
This art of self massage is a form of MyoFascial release, and is such a great tool to work the tight areas in your body, eliminate unpleasant pain, and calm the central nervous system and with that body and mind.
To avoid going beyond scope, I want to introduce one of my absolute favourite Myofascial techniques to get that yummy, juicy release that makes you feel loose like a goose and which might just as well complement your Yoga practice and general life perfectly.
Before we literally dig right into it, I would just like to explain what Fascia actual is. You’ll find an endless list of essays about this topic but to break it down and keep it simple, lets say the fascia is a fibrous, collagenous tissue that covers everything inside of us: our muscles fibres, muscles, organs and our bones. It’s like a spiders web structure that wraps around all of it, allowing our musculoskeletal system to work smoothly and with ease, given that it can move freely. And that’s the catch here; this connective tissue can get stuck, sticky, tight or knotted and thus cause tension through the whole body.
Let me show how to release this tightness with these simple yet effective techniques.
Come into a relaxing corpse pose and pop the block underneath your head. Have your chin slightly tucked so that the back of your neck is long. Tilt then the top part of the block away from your shoulders and the bottom part in, so the edge of your block digs into the back of your skull where all of your neck muscles attach to your head. Breathe deep in and out and try to relax your shoulders. After 60-90 seconds, you should find a pleasant release and you might be able to start rolling your head slowly and gently from side to side. If you find one spot which is particularly tight, stay there and allow yourself to melt into it. Stay for 3-6 minutes.
Place both balls underneath the tops of your shoulders, there where your trapezius muscles run across. In doing so, be sure to avoid your spine and get the muscly part of your top back. Relax your head down on the floor. To safely give more pressure into this releasing point, start to lift your hips from the floor. Breathe through arising pain and try to stay relaxed through the rest of your body. Play with your edge, whenever you find release through the area, move the balls slightly, exploring a new tight spot. Hold for 3- 6 minutes.
One of my all time favourites! Our shoulder joint is beautiful and it actually is quite impressive how many muscles work together to give us so much stability and
mobility at the same time. It’s no wonder that we experience some tightness around our shoulder joint.
Reach your arm overhead and place the ball just behind your armpit under your shoulder blade, find the “fleshy” part between your scapula and the humeral head. If you can’t find the spot straightaway, roll around to explore if you feel tight somewhere close. Once you’ve spotted that tight spot, try to relax, your head included and melt over the ball. If you sense a certain release, you can start to slowly move your arm from above your head to in front of your shoulder with your palm facing up. BREATHE and swap sides after 3 – 6 minutes.
Being in a hunched position most hours of the day, it is common for our chest muscles to be short and thus tight. Re-creating space for your front allows your shoulder to be freer and to sit in the healthy rolled-back shoulder blade position.
Place the ball on top of the block in front of your shoulder, just below the collarbone and between your humeral head and sternum. Resting on it might be enough, to deepen the sensation start to sweep your arm gently up and down. Again stay for a few minutes to adapt the release.
“Sitting is the new smoking” and back pain is the resulting issue. Although often times the lower back is not the real problem but the areas around. Working your hip area with the ball can do wonder to free up tension in your lower back. Place here fore the ball right beside our iliac sacral joint below the top part of your bum beside the spine. Try to completely ease through your buttocks muscles and find deep relaxation with the help of your breath. To deepen the sensation, allow the knee on the same side to fall to the outside. Hold it for 3 – 6 minutes and change then over to the other side.
Another common tight spot is the inside thigh above your knee. Give it a go and I promise you will find your trigger point pretty quick.
Just resting the inside knee on the ball might be enough. For more sensation roll the ball around for a happy, healthy knees. Hold it for 3 minutes before you move on.
Hamstring tightness can be another reason for back pain by possibly pulling our pelvis into an unhealthy position. To free this up, place the ball below the buttocks where the hamstring muscle connects to your pelvis. As always sitting on it might feel intense enough, a gentle wiggle movement from side to side can feel nice and will help you to find your tight spot. To deepen the sensation, come into cow face pose variation by stacking one knee on top of the other.
Hold for 3 minutes and change then sides.
After this nourishing delicious full body release, give it a go and throw yourself into a downward facing dog pose. Do you notice any difference; do you feel more open for your dog?
Like everything else in life, there is unfortunately no such thing as a quick fix. Consistency and patience is the key, do this for you and your body will thank you later.
My name is Mimi I’m a Yoga Teacher, Nike and Personal Trainer based on the Sunshine Coast, originally from Germany.
With my Business “ Feel Good Junkies” I offer Yoga and Fitness Retreats around the globe. Follow me on IG @mimi_goforfit_ and @feelgoodjunkies for more or contact me through www.goforfit.de.
Lots of Love