Thoracic Spine stretch
GeneralMay 28, 2014 by Blair Atkins
Many collegiate and professional athletes use foam rollers to recover from intense training sessions, and yogis can benefit from foam rolling just as much. Twisting your body in a way you haven’t before and trying new poses can cause your muscles to tense up; using the foam roller keeps your muscles supple and allows for better recovery from especially challenging practices.
Foam rolling can be a bit painful if you are especially tight. But if you commit to doing a little each day, you will soon notice a difference in how you move and feel. Using the foam roller can also help prevent injuries so you can continue to challenge yourself in your yoga practice.
Here are 3 foam roller stretches that are beneficial to yogis. Perform each for 30-60 seconds based on what your body needs.
The foam roller is ideal for stretching your iliotibial (IT) band, the band of muscles that runs down the outer part of your thigh. Doing this stretch a few times a week will keep your IT band happy, especially if your practice includes a lot of chair pose.
Lay on your side and raise your hips off of the mat. Slide the foam roller beneath your hips and rest them on the roller. Place your top foot on the floor for support. Roll up and down the outer thigh, spending extra time on areas that feel particularly tender. Be sure to stop before you hit the knee.
This stretch will better prepare you for spine strengthening postures in class and relieve upper back pain.
Start by lying on your back. Slide foam roller under your back at the height of your shoulder blades. Interlace your fingers behind your head like you do when performing a crunch. Raise your hips off of the ground and slowly roll up and down your upper back.
Regularly rolling out your calves will ease the discomfort you may feel during the first few downward facing dogs of practice.
Sit on the ground with your legs stretched long in front of you as they are in a seated forward fold. Slide the foam roller under your calves and prop yourself up onto your hands. Cross your left leg over your right and roll from the bottom of your knee to your Achilles tendon. Switch and roll the other calf by crossing right leg over left.A foam roller is well worth the $20 pricetag as it helps your body repair for the next time you step on the mat. Think of foam rolling as a affordable (albeit not as relaxing) deep tissue massage!