Have you ever been to the gym and witnessed someone writhing around on the gym floor with a facial expression that seems to communicate that some strange kind of self-inflicted torture is taking place? You look closer and see that they are rolling on rubbers balls, or a foam cylinder, and your first thought is, “nope, not doing that.” Or perhaps you’ve been brave, got down on the gym floor with a pair of balls, attempting to achieve relief from muscle tension, but found it to be awkward and uncomfortable, and couldn’t understand why any sane person would do this! Sound familiar? If this resonates with you, stay with me and let me fill you in on what all the fuss is about.

What is Yoga Tune Up?

Yoga Tune Up is a style of Yoga that utilizes balls to achieve easy to perform self-massage techniques.
I did my first Yoga Tune Up certification over 4 years ago. Until then, I had been struggling with chronic pain since my early teens. My pain was not from drastic injuries, but of the unexplainable-chronic-nagging-pain-variety and was located in my back and other joints. I finally had to take this problem seriously when my back ‘went out’ during university exams, and left me bedridden for two weeks waiting for the muscle spasms to calm down. Was it a coincidence that this happened during 4th year exams, while I was applying to teachers college, and getting ready to move away from my hometown for the first time…?

No, it most certainly wasn’t! When my back went out, I was stressed out, spending my whole day seated in front of a computer, and suffering from chronic insomnia. In short, I was terrible at relaxing and all the mental and physical stresses were building up to a breaking point. It wasn’t until I began utilizing the Yoga Tune Up balls for therapeutic massage that I began to fully understand what it felt like to release muscle tension, de-stress, sleep better, and relieve my aches and pains.

It is unfortunate that many individuals, who would greatly benefit from the tools and methods taught in Yoga Tune Up, get turned off by a bad first impression or a misunderstanding of the intention of these methods. We can’t walk into a gym and start lifting weights randomly while expecting specific results, and the same is true for Yoga Tune Up. A qualified instructor is essential as they will teach you the simple, yet powerful, self-massage techniques needed for you to take full advantage of the mental and physical benefits this style of yoga has to offer.

Therapeutic Massage

Therapeutic massage has been shown to raise feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, while at the same time decreasing the stress hormone known as cortisol (M. Hernandez-Reif et al., 2005). In plain English, this means that you will feel amazing after Yoga Tune Up: more at peace mentally, rested physically and potentially less sore from your previous workouts! However, if all you can think about is the pain face you’ve seen as other people perform these techniques, I have a few words of reassurance for you. It is a misconception that one must feel a lot of discomfort while rolling to get good results. Intense sensation is, in fact, not a requirement but more of an indicator that your muscles are asking for this kind of body work.

The intensity of the sensations will reduce as you and your nervous system grow accustomed to the stimulus and you begin to recognize the difference between pain and discomfort. With appropriate guidance, you can learn how to properly apply this deeper pressure that has become so foreign to the nervous system today. It is, in fact, this deep massage in the tissue that helps provide great insight into how to recover from your day and prepare for sleep.

I have seen great progress in the clients I’ve coached with Yoga Tune Up. Especially the clients who begin to apply what they learn in class at home, rolling out when they are feeling stressed, tense, or have had trouble sleeping. Knowing when and how to sooth your nervous system after a stressful day, which in turn allows you to get more quality sleep, can start an impressive upward spiral of health and wellbeing. Yoga Tune Up is accessible and beneficial for individuals of all fitness levels, so come on out and give one of these classes a try! I look forward to continuing this conversation with you there.

I will be offering Yoga Tune Up classes at our Beechwood location as soon as it opens. Stay tuned to www.epicfitnessottawa.com/ottawa-classes for more details.

Garrett Plumley
Have a question for me? Email me at garrett@epicfitnessottawa.com

References:
(M.Hernandez-Reif et al., 2005) “cortisol decreases and serotonin increases following massage therapy” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=1397+Intern.+J.+Neuroscience%2C+115%3A1397%E2%80%931413%2C+2005.).