Stories. I find myself telling stories these days. A sign of aging, perhaps. Yet history has value. A couple weeks ago I told the foam roller evolution story, an invitation to the slow easy session last Saturday. This hour was so juicy, first of four intro classes to Essentials. The series is all you need to hop on your mat with confidence or take a class in the web library or attend a class Friday morning. Didn’t make it to that easy rolling class? Want? Now in the Video Library.
Session 2 is this Saturday 9:30. We’ll slow easy explore tennis ball releases. So what is the story, pray tell, on those double tennis balls? I just so happen to have a story. In retrospect, it’s obvious this personal journey set me square on this Essentials path. I know you have an amazing pain story, too. But mine begins in 1984 when I’d been struggling with left neck pain on and off for eight years. I kept searching for help. It took a long time. I had a lot of ineffective treatment.
This dogged pursuit and frustration pushed me toward finally working in orthopedics. Where I slowly began to hone a craft I still practice today. And I finally found a practitioner who knew how to assess my cervical spine and promptly treat my thoracic spine. Which was uber-bound on the left. See up top; a picture is worth a thousand words.
When thoracic spine is tight it tends to fall into a deeper curve. The head, already 12# heavy when perched ideally, gains weight each millimeter it drifts forward of the central axis. Headache, neck, TMJ and/or shoulder pain are almost inevitable. That’s why releasing thoracic spine on you is often my first go-to on the treatment table. And then teaching you how to release it yourself is the second move. Foam rollers are great for this, especially if tightness is severe. But foam rollers had not appeared yet on the physical therapy scene in 1984.
So I was taught to use the double-wrapped tennis balls. They were way too aggressive of an intervention. I was weeping as I used them and asked, “Is this really necessary?” The answer from the therapist? “Only if you want to get better.” A bit harsh. And I was a tough determined cookie. That moment initiated the healing of an eight year injury. Another six years before it was way better. Injuries of that nature are challenging to heal, never really go away. Long-standing changes produce compensations that wind through the body wreaking havoc in one place and then the next.
This was a professional gift that kept on giving. I learned shoulders and low backs, hips, knees and feet. Painfully excruciatingly effective. I’ve dedicated a lifetime to reaping the positive from this fate. I’ve learned a great deal from books and teachers. And my own body has been the most valuable textbook of all. The emotional healing of the last twenty years was a huge impactful piece as well. Here I sit at the ripe age of 71 and can truly say I have never felt better, more whole and vital, more at ease in my entire life. And for that I am so grateful.
So that’s the story of me and the tennis balls. They initiated me onto this path. And they do go deeper than the roller. So I will be sharing easy gentle techniques as well as modifications for the more challenging ones. If you know you are a tender one, a thick carpet on the floor is your best friend. All you need is your roller and there’s how to wrap those two pair (yes TWO pair) of double wrapped balls. Enroll for online 9:30 Saturday February 5 or enroll to receive recording right HERE. We complete the series with February 12 Core Strength and February 19 Stretching Out.
Here’s a quick look at what we are going to do so slow:
If you’re already dialed in with rollers and balls, know a thing or two about breath and core strength…then join us for Friday morning Essentials. See that three head picture up there? This week we’re feeling the exact little mountain where neck meets rib cage: the cervico-thoracic junction. And the next week we’ll dedicate to cervical spine and the way it supports head.
Loving this journey with you…Bella