By Nichi Green
The moment I started body rolling I loved it. Instantly my body felt more relaxed, more balanced. I felt better alignment in my joints. I felt my weight differently in my feet. My legs felt more alive and more toned. It was like the best massage I'd ever had but I was able to give this to myself just by rolling on a ball.
I've had a love affair with yoga for 19 years and never thought I'd love anything as much until I discovered body rolling. I feel the same after rolling as I feel after yoga. More spacious, more in my body, calmer, centred and vibrant.
What I love most about it is that the effects are instant. Everyone feels major changes after their first body rolling session. It realigns you, bringing all the parts back to where they are supposed to be. You suddenly feel "right" in your body. This can take a while even with a yoga practice. For some people even years.
Created by Yamuna Zake a yoga teacher from New York this work has developed from years of working with people and from years of research and knowing the physiology, anatomy and mechanics of the body on and off her yoga mat. Yamuna is a visionary, a body work guru whose passion and knowledge is inspiring. I'm thrilled to be a practitioner and to be sharing this form of bodywork. Once you start rolling you won't want to stop. Your body will ask for more – it feels so good.
You can roll before yoga, after yoga, after sports. Anytime you feel tight, tense and uncomfortable in your body – get on your ball. You will instantly feel better. You can roll away everyday stress, anxiety, irritation, or pent-up anger keeping yourself feeling more balanced. After a difficult day try rolling out your shoulders - your difficult day is gone! Having trouble sleeping? Roll out your back and release your neck - sleep will come.
CREATE SPACE AND GET UNSTUCK
The basic principle of body rolling is creating space. Every part of your body needs its proper space to function properly. Lack of space first manifests as muscle tightness or contraction. Different bodies lack space for different reasons. Almost everyone has muscles in their body that they don't use and then these muscles lose their ability to function properly. These muscle then shrink – they shorten – they take up less space. We also all have muscles that we over use. These muscles are constantly contracted and tightness then results in lack of space.
In body rolling we elongate the muscle. We stimulate a tendon, we free up a joint. Working with the ball reveals how tightness in certain muscles restrict movements in the joints. As they release, the joint loosens up.
The other work that body rolling does is decongest and unstick connective tissue and stimulates bone. It also encourages you to let go of habitual patterns. You start to let go and release. Just as we do in yoga with the breath on the ball we soften, sink and let go.
I believe body rolling is a must for yoga students. It will enable and deepen your practice. It will teach and inform you about your own anatomy. It will help you let go of emotional blocks, trauma and stress. You will feel more centred, grounded and more at ease both physically and emotionally.
Nichi Green will be running a Body Rolling Workshop at the Shala in London on Saturday 11 October.
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