I mean, my back is sore. Really sore. I’ve probably been doing one-too-many backbends in my own practice and demo-ing one-too-many backbends in my private instruction sessions. (They are so fun! And so good for us!)… but ohmyword my back is sore. I groaned as I stood up from my mat after class yesterday and my student Matt lovingly reminded me: “Wait, isn’t yoga supposed to make you feel less sore? You do so much stretching!” Well yeah: but if you practice to your edge, and are dedicated to opening up your tight spots, but you don’t recover well, then yes, you might be sore.
Throughout the summer, I’ll be featuring several recovery techniques for after your yoga practice. These will help keep you feeling good, (enjoying that yoga bliss) and prepare your body to come back to the mat again the next day. After all: this is yoga Practice. Which means we practice every day, especially on the days we don’t feel like it!
My first tip: Get a Foam Roller.
My Ironman Guy uses his all the time, and I used to be skeptical. Mostly because I didn’t want to spend the time on it… but seriously? 10 measly minutes and your muscles release? (No guitar string hammys here.) Worth it.
Sara Fruman writes a great article on Gaiam Life featuring 12 ways to use a foam roller to overcome yoga soreness.
Here’s 1 through 4. The rest of her tips can be found here.“Here are 12 areas of the body and ways that you can use your foam roller to relieve muscle tension, correct muscle imbalances, increase range of motion and prevent injuries. The best part is that just 10 minutes a day can be sufficient to feel a big change. 1. Thighs (front) For sweet quadriceps release, get into Upward-Facing Dog and position the foam roller under your thighs with your toes on the floor. Press your hands into the floor and shift your body forward and backward, letting the foam roller massage your quads. 2. Thighs and Calves (back) If you’ve been working your hamstrings or calves lately, you’ll need this release. Position the roller under the back of your thighs or calves, then straighten your leg, keeping your heel off the floor. Press your hands into the floor and slightly raise your buttocks (Reverse Plank). Shift your body forward and backward, letting the foam roller massage your thighs or calves. 3. Thigh (side) Need to release tension in your IT Band? Position the foam roller under the outside of one of your thighs, straighten your leg and point your toes. Press your hands into the floor and shift your body forward and backward while rolling the roller along the side of your upper leg. Feel the sweet release, then switch sides! 4. Upper Back Place the foam roller under your upper back, bend your legs and straighten your arms. Press your feet and hands into the ground and lift your buttocks off the floor, coming up into Bridge Pose. Shift your body forward and backward while the roller massages your upper back.
Convinced? Don’t have one? Here’s the one that I bought. It’s green! 🙂
Let me know how you like these exercises,