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Using a Foam Roller in Yoga

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Using a Foam Roller in Yoga

Foam rollers are becoming very popular in many types of workouts, including yoga classes. It is a cylinder of material made of foam and comes in whole or half sizes. The whole size foam rolleris great for working out muscles in the entire body, and the half cylinder is good for spot muscle work. Foam rollers are built with elasticity and resistance that are used to help a person self massage their bodies. The person using the roller rests the part of the body that is feeling muscle tension on the roller and rolls back and forth over the roller foam. This puts pressure on the muscles and helps work the pain out of the area being massaged as well as improve circulation.

Foam Rollers for Yoga

While foam rollers are not specifically for yoga they do provide a way to enhance yoga positions. Using the foam roller puts a person in positions that are very similar to yoga poses which makes it easy to incorporate the roller foam into a yoga workout. Examples of using foam rollers in a yoga regimen include:

• Beginning seated stretch – yoga incorporates hamstring and gluteus stretches into seated mat routines. The foam roller can be used to also stretch the muscles by sitting on the roller and rolling the body back and forth with the feet, making sure the roll goes from the top of the gluteus muscle down to the back of the knees.

• Plank position – while getting into a plank position, the yoga practitioner can rest their forearms on the foam roller instead of the floor. Pushing backwards and forwards with one or both arms incorporates an added level of balance and core muscle control to the plank position.

• Downward facing dog – from the downward facing dog position come down into the upward facing dog with thighs on the roller foam. Move into a low plank working the front of the thighs back and forth over the foam roller going from upward facing dog into low plank. From there move into the side-facing plank and roll the outer thigh back and forth over the foam roller, repeating on the opposite side.

• Pike position – place the foam roller under the ankles roll up into a pike and back into a chaturanga pose. This works the lower legs on the roller foam.

• Back work – lying with the back on the roller foam, place arms behind the head and roll on the spine giving the back a myofascial release, which means self massage.

• Bridge position – moving the body into the bridge position, come down to position the lower spine on the roller. Pull knees towards chest and massage the lower spine by moving the raised knees and legs in a circular motion to release all the tension from the lower back.

• Back of legs – sit on the foam roller and extend the legs supporting the body on hands that are placed at the hips. Slowly move the lower body back and forth on the foam roller while maintaining the seated position with legs extended. The hands are actually rolling the body. Repeat the same motion with the front of the legs extended over the foam roller.

• Post-routing stretch – sitting on the foam roller with feet extended in front of the body and touching the floor, gently move the upper body forward to touch the top or outer sides of the feet. This enhances the stretch.

The foam roller is a great way to add another level of stretching to a yoga workout. Working on the foam roller is a way to release tension from muscles similar to yoga poses.