Give yourself the best massage you’ve ever had, just by rolling on a ball!
History and origins
Yamuna Body Rolling was created by Yamuna Zake, a yoga teacher from New York with over 30 years of experience as a yoga practitioner and teacher. Yamuna realised that traditional fitness regimes often caused many of the injuries she saw and through Yamuna body rolling sought to “undo the damage”. Her work developed from years of research on the physiology, anatomy and mechanics of the body, both on and off her yoga mat.
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 – usually due to under-use or overuse of our muscles.
Almost everyone has muscles in their body that they don’t use enough, so those muscles lose their ability to function properly; they shrink, shorten and eventually take up less space. We also all have muscles that we overuse. These muscles are constantly contracted and, in turn, this tightness then results in lack of space.
Yamuna body rolling elongates the muscle; it stimulates tendons and frees up joints. Working with the ball reveals how tightness in certain muscles restricts movements in the joints. As they release, the joint loosens up. Body rolling decongests and unsticks connective tissue and stimulates bone. It also encourages us to let go of habitual patterns. We start to let go and release. Just as we do in yoga, with the breath on the ball we soften, sink and let go.
Benefits of Yamuna
Nichi Green, who has been practising and teaching body rolling since 2013 says of discovering the practice:
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. What I love most about it is that the effects are instant. It realigns you, bringing all the parts back to where they are supposed to be. You suddenly feel “right” in your body.
What I love most about Yamuna body rolling is that the effects are instant. It realigns you, bringing all the parts back to where they are supposed to be. You suddenly feel “right” in your body.
When should you practise Yamuna?
You can roll before yoga, after yoga, after sports. Anytime you feel tight, tense, 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 and maintain more balance within your life. After a difficult day, try rolling out your shoulders. Having trouble sleeping? Roll out your back and release your neck – sleep will come..
What you need
Only Yamuna balls should be used for this bodywork as they are specifically designed for it. Other types of balls will be too hard (we’ve tried them!) and you could end up hurting yourself. You will also need a ball pump with a pin attachment for inflating and deflating the ball.
Yamuna balls can be purchased from the following websites: