Roll with it Baby! Body Rolling and Self-Learning

Yesterday in yoga teacher training, we had a day on anatomy and physiology. I find these topics fascinating, so it was a good deal for me. As part of the lesson, we did some “body rolling.” Body rolling is a therapeutic technique utilizing small rubber balls (6-10 inches in diameter) to locate areas of tension, elongate muscle, and stimulate other connective tissues. You literally roll your body over the ball and use gravity to help you locate different parts of the body. The balls we used were from Yamuna, and you can learn more about the whole deal at their site, Anyway, we weren’t using it as much to create the element of massage as to help us locate different muscles and connective tissues (and bones) on the body that we might need to know about when teaching and doing adjustments.

This was extremely interesting, as far as I was concerned. Descriptions of the various muscles and elements of the hamstrings make sense to me, but when I “sat” on the ball and rolled it slowly across the hamstrings, managing to very clearly identify which area of the hamstring is a problem for me, it was quite revealing (for the inquiring minds, it’s the biceps femoris, for sure. I was also able to see, even more clearly, through the interaction between the instructor – Heather Marie Miller – and the class, that areas which are commonly very sensitive or intense are not comparatively that intense for me, when I evaluate them against the areas on my body that may not bother a lot of people. On my body, it’s almost all the muscles that cross/connect major joints that are very tender. Surprise? Not really, but sort of. I’ve always thought it was odd that I have such tight hamstrings, because I’m not a runner. But, through this work, I was able to see that it’s not my entire hamstrings that are tight. It’s the muscle that is involved in both hip extension and knee flexion. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Oh. There were other insights for me, but I won’t bore you with all of them here. 🙂

Anyway, very cool stuff and I think I would recommend a body rolling workshop if there is one going on in your area. It might not only loosen up a few things, but also give you some insight into what is going on in there and how it’s all connected (literally and systemically).



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