Stretching and Self-massage Using a Roller

In this edition, we’ll look at the importance of stretching and self-massage for your health and well-being.  Plain and simple, a good daily practice of stretching (yoga) is so important for keeping your muscles and joints in a limber and flexible state.  Your state of mind and spirit will also be “stretched” and more relaxed through this practice and thus you will expend less effort during your day.

Personally, I like to use a yoga roller as part of my stretching routine.  This especially aids in stretching your vertebrae and other joints safely and comfortably in a horizontal position.  Also, it allows you to massage most areas of your body with minimal effort.  If you do not have a roller, you can make one by following the easy instructions on the left sidebar. 
See the pictures and explanations below for an easy-to-follow routine.  By no means are you limited to these stretches –your creativity can take you to interesting places.  So play around and experiment with your roller and remember, always go slowly, hold stretches for at least 5 seconds and stay within your physical limits.

1- Spine stretch/massage:  Start with the roller at your sacrum/buttocks.  Relax your body giving a nice arch backwards.  Hold then move up 1 inch or so and repeat.  Go all the way up to the neck.

2- Thoracic and abdominal massage:  Similar to #1.  Try a rolling action for a more massage effect

3- Hamstrings and calves massage:  Similar to #2.  Put yourself into a semi-prone position with the roller underneath your legs and get a rocking (or rolling) action going for a good massage.

4- Glutes, hips and psoas stretch/massage:  Start with the roller at your sacrum/buttocks.  Rotate from your hips down to the right and rocking back and forth along the way to give a good massage in all areas.  Finally, hold to your furthest limit for a stretch.  Repeat on the left.

5- Forearm stretch:  Have underside of arms up to the sky and palms extended toward the ground. Place fingers onto the roller and roll your body forward for a wrist extension stretch. You can also just contact your fingers to the ground for more stability instead of using the roller.

Happy Stretching and Self-Care!