I consider myself a true beginner when it comes to yoga, and though I try to do an online class almost every day, I still have a mountain of things to learn. Lately, I’ve been exploring the different kinds of accessories – what the right type of mat for my practice is, what props or blocks I need, and which workout clothes suit me the best (hello high-waisted stretch pants!). But when my Pilates trainer lead me through a therapy workout that started and ended with these Yoga Tune Up Balls, I knew I had found one accessory I could not live without.
I have a lot of muscle tightness in various parts of my body. From my shoulders and neck to my calves and glutes, tightness and discomfort creep into my everyday life. Exercise and stretching are essential, along with regular acupuncture, but for many years I relied on heat and menthol products to help with any further discomfort. I also kept a tennis ball in my bedside table for last minute rolling through my muscles before bed, when any stiffness could leave me a little fidgety. Despite the tennis ball working moderately well, it didn’t leave me with consistent relief, and I would end up with bruises whenever I used it. (I’m vigorous, ya’ll!)
These therapy balls have changed the way I stretch, relax, and massage my muscles after a workout. While I suffer from an extra tight butt muscle and calf on my right side, these balls have made it virtually go away (sans bruising too). A favorite exercise of mine is to sit on the floor, place one of these under my calf and lift my weight into my hands. Immediately I feel like I’m at a masseuse!
You can use these little guys alongside the spine for back relief, on the sides of your body to release fascia, and I recently discovered their use for releasing head tension in my temples when I get a migraine. They also come in a little pouch that enables you to use them together on the front of your shins, and leaning into your forearms. And for a more indulgent stretch, I like to use them to release my toes and fingers.
For a quick how-to, and to better understand how they work, check out a little tutorial I found here (she uses a larger size):
While I’ll certainly never give up my love of hot tubs and shiatsu massages, it’s nice to have an easy everyday trick that keeps me feeling loose and limber after a workout. And if you find yourself craving a sweet muscle release without the big cost, I suggest you too give these little balls a try!
What products or tricks do you use to release tension in your body? Share with me in the comments below! Image via Amazon.