Bodyrolling, also known as body rolling, is a type of yoga stretch created in the late 1970s.
It aims to massage your body at the same time as you exercise to release muscle tension and create flexibility.
It is a simple exercise that beginners can pick up with ease.
Body Rolling At Its Core
At its core, the body rolling technique is a type of physical exercise. You need to use a ball as part of the workout and the ball needs to be sized between 6 and 10 inches (or 15-25 centimeters).
The pressing of your muscles against the ball as you stretch, causes your muscles to stretch further. This increases your body’s movement and in turn, its flexibility.
Many people use body rolling as part of their aftercare routines to help their body repair after a particularly heavy workout. However, using this technique as its own workout is acceptable too.
In a session, you would need to stretch the entire length of the muscle you are focusing on. This means rolling from end to end or joint to joint.
By the end of the session, you would expect to feel instant fluidity in the focused muscle, and over time, your flexibility in the area will increase too.
Different Colors Mean Different Levels Of Advancement
In a typical rolling collection you will see the balls separated by color. The colors will represent how soft the balls are.
Most of the colors will match the description below, however, each brand may have a different pattern. Regardless of color, you can still expect the separation of firmness.
The yellow balls are often the easiest to move. They are large and soft, which means you don’t need to bend down far to touch the ball, and the pressure will be gentle.
These balls are perfect for pregnant people, older people, and people with disabilities.
If you suffer from movement-related disabilities, the largeness of the yellow ball will allow you to stay in a comfortable position and still gain the effects of the body roll movements.
The green ball is also soft, but it is smaller than the yellow. This allows people with larger mobility to attempt trickier yoga exercises while still experiencing gentle pressure.
This ball is perfect for beginners to yoga or beginners to body rolling in general.
The last ball you can expect is red. It is small like the green but has a harder frame.
These balls are perfect for people who need a deep muscle relaxation tool. For example, those who have completed a tough workout routine that pushes their max.
Most workout classes will use all three balls on different areas of your body, to match the flexibility and tension which differs from muscle to muscle.
A Typical Body Rolling Class
In a typical body rolling class, you will complete yoga stretches designed to help you loosen your muscles.
It will start with common exercises such as the cat cow, downward-facing dog, child’s pose, cobra pose and simply lying down (also known as the corpse pose).
These exercises are already designed to loosen your muscles and stretch them.
With the balls in play, you can push these muscles deeper adding intensity to the original yoga moves that weren’t there before.
Here is how a typical body rolling workout is completed from start to finish:
- Lie on your side, with one hip on the floor and the other in the air.
- Put the ball underneath your hips, while the arm on the floor keeps your torso elevated.
- Using your feet, push yourself up along the mat or floor so the ball is forced to roll down your leg.
- Only roll until halfway down your leg – You should feel pressure from the movement.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Move again to roll the ball further down your leg.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
This is a general movement, but with a focus on your leg. You can do the same with your back, chest, or any other muscle causing tension.
The Purpose Of Body Rolling
Because yoga stretches already exist you may question why body rolling is even needed. Instead of thinking of body rolling like a yoga pose, consider it more like a massage.
While yoga will stretch your muscles, massages will tenderize them. It’s the pressure that a masseuse gives which adds the difference.
This pressure can be re-created through the balls.
This means you can self-massage at an intensity that you prefer without needing a masseuse.
To apply the pressure correctly, you need to roll the ball onto the area which needs tenderizing and lay down while you focus on breathing.
Gravity will force your body down, making the muscles and balls interact. The pressure points force the muscles into relaxing, allowing you to find a neutral pose.
The History Of Body Rolling
The body roll is technically called Yamuna Body Rolling. This is because the technique was invented by Yamuna Zake in 1979.
Yamuna was trained as a yogi which means she had professional knowledge about yoga as both a movement and philosophy.
Yamuna suffered from a serious hip injury and used yoga to help her heal, however it didn’t work. She also took on physical therapy, but this was also unsuccessful.
In her desperation for pain relief and the need to regain flexibility, Yamuna practiced her yoga stretches and reached for a dense item to help her stretch.
This was how she developed the body rolling technique. The intense pressure points allowed her hip to release tension in a way that her other options didn’t.
Now she shares this method around the world on her Body Logic program.
Body rolling doesn’t involve intense movement, but instead allows your body to relieve intense pressure.
Using a ball and typical yoga poses, you push the ball into your body putting pressure on the muscles and allowing them to relax.