It’s such a busy time of year, with all of the hustlin’ and bustlin’ from one place to another. It can be pretty stressful. Between trying to pick out the right gifts, the expense of the season, seeing loved ones and spending time with family (which may or may not be a good thing ;)), and pushing through crowds of people all trying to go out and spread their own forms of “cheer,” it can be easy to lose track of ourselves in all of it. I know for me, it’s always times like this when I feel the most squeezed for time and energy that I actually need to slow down a bit and do something for me. If you don’t, it’s too easy to lose yourself in all of it and come back up on the other side gasping for air. I’m going do a couple of posts with tips between now and Christmas reminding you (and me!) to take a moment for self-care.
For this first post, I wanted to share a bit about myofascial release. This sounds weird and sciency, but actually, all it is a massage that you can give yourself. All you need is a tennis ball, or any ball up to the size of a soccer ball. The smaller and harder your ball is, the more intense the massage will be, and vice versa. Tip: check the pet store for cheap balls that works great for this.
To do, simply roll the ball between either the floor (more intense) or the wall (less intense) and your back, glutes, and hips. When you come to a particularly tender place, pause there for a few seconds and breathe into it. You can either make small motions over the sore place rolling back and forth, or else just hold and press into the spot. Between the shoulder blades, the lower back, and the sides of the hips are all places where we all tend to hold a lot of tension.
There are many different kinds of fascia in the body, but one kind is the stuff that connects all of our muscles together. If you eat meat, you’ve probably encountered this as the “silverskin” (ew, gross, I know). I learned about this initially in an anatomy workshop that I took during my yoga teacher training. What I learned is that pain in one place, may be felt in another place via these connections. I’ve personally experienced this, and have had quite a bit of trouble with my back, having referred pain from tension on a vertebrae. I saw a couple of doctors, had scads of tests (some of them scary), and the answer for me turned out to be a simple tennis ball and this technique. The human body is so amazing and complex! I love it.