Do you foam roll? And what the heck is it?!
I didn't do it or understand it until recently. It is a really great addition to your fitness routine and to your yoga practice. Foam rolling is the ultimate self massage- it's pretty much free after purchasing the roller, you can roll anytime to fit into your schedule, and it's really easy to do.
I like to foam roll after a run or after an intense vinyasa yoga session. Your muscles shorten, and therefore tighten, after any cardiovascular activity. This is why it's so important to stretch after a workout and do a deep yin yoga practice here and there, to re-lengthen your muscles and prevent pain and injury. Foam rolling helps to kneed out fluid build up in the muscles as well as tone and lengthen the muscles. And it just feels really damn good! I love foam rolling before bed too! It leaves you feeling sooo blissed out and relaxed! Ah, it can be heavenly.
The first few times you try it, the roller does feel really hard and the process seems painful. Just stay with it! Trust the roller! After a few sessions you get used to it and you'll be rolling like a pro. You may even find you need a harder roller over time.
If you are new to foam rolling, I would suggest buying your basic foam roller to start. And try some basic moves. Below we'll walk you through some rolling for the legs.
Massage your calves by holding yourself up on your hands and engaging your core (see above). Cross the legs to get into each calf one at a time.
Next try massaging the glutes by rolling back and forth over your lower thighs, holding yourself up with your hands once more and one foot.
Get into your hips by laying your body on the roller like you're in side plank. Roll back and forth while on your forearm and on both legs. This move is particularly painful for me, and hopefully will become more delicious with time.
You can also massage your legs with other types of rollers to get even deeper into the muscles.
Don't forget your feet need some love too! So many of our body's movements are connected to our feet. There are special rollers just for the bottoms of your feet, but a baseball or any type of firm ball works too.
Be sure to meditate when you're done! Take 10 full and long deep breaths and practice gratitude for our incredible bodies!