I used to be a very selfish person.
I’m still selfish.
Before, I was selfish about petty, stupid things, like not wanting to share a bite of my food or refusing to lend roommates my nice clothes. My friends used to laugh at me and attribute it to the fact that I was an only-child.
The reality is that I just had a, “It’s me against the world. I’m taking all I can get, whenever I can get it,” attitude toward life.
Luckily, yoga helped cure all that. (If you don’t yet have a solid yoga practice yet, learn with me in my Beginner Yoga Course).
So now, instead of selfishly taking up space in this world, I’m just really selfish about my yoga time.
In order to feel as good in my body as I want to, I realized I needed to be stretching and doing yoga ALL the time. And feeling good in my body is important. Because when I do, I’m a kind person. I have a grounded, healing energy. I’m more patient and accepting of others. And I’m a good teacher.
When I don’t feel good in my body, I’m just a stressed person who complains a lot.
We all know someone like that. Sometimes we are someone like that. Yoga helped change that in me.
It’s sort of like the airplane safety video in which you’re instructed to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.
Take care of yourself first, get centered, and everyone around you will thank you. I have found this to be immensely true.
Perhaps like you, feeling good in my body is the #1 way I take care of myself. It’s also my favorite hobby, because like anyone addicted to endorphins, I love trying *all* the ways you can get high through exercise.
Yoga is my favorite, of course. But I also love dancing, Bar Method, running, pilates, gyrotonic, playing on random gym machines.
I’m not very good at any water sports yet, but I’m trying!
Because I’m also a practitioner of myofascial release, which is a soft tissue mobilization technique (AKA a very painful massage similar to rolfing), I knew that in exercising as much as I wanted to exercise, I also needed to be also doing tons of myofascial release work (AKA stuff like foam rolling) to counteract all my Yang activities (which are heat-building, energy busting activities).
Yin yoga, much like my favorite myofascial release techniques, is a great counterbalance to all these active styles of working out. I love Yin.
My problem was time.
I wanted to dedicate any true workout time I had to either yoga or doing things that helped me get my endorphin high. Yang stuff.
Yet yoga teaches us that a more subtle Yin practice is equally important. Actually, it’s essential. Especially, if you don’t want to get injured. (Do you know how many clients I have who are insanely tight, unbalanced, and injured because all they do is run?)
I knew that holding long passive stretches (fascia takes at least 3 – 5 minutes to release) was critical to my well-being. The issue wasn’t “how” or “why” but WHEN?
Perhaps like you, between working 3 jobs, running my Youtube channel, teaching yoga, forcing myself to write, film, create new products, I’m kinda busy.
So I just started using props to perform myofascial release and long passive stretches in my day-to-day life, while I was doing other things.
For example, I discovered ways to stretch:
- While I was typing at my desk or editing in iMovie
- When I was watching a movie with my husband at night
- While I was talking on the phone with my dad
- When I was reading
- When I was stuck in traffic in the back of a cab
I realized after a few years, that I had a whole system of stretching all the time. I also had a few key props that made this all happen.
Let me tell you, when you’re selfish, addicted to exercise AND doing myofascial release and passive stretching 90-minutes a day, your body LOVES you.
And I want you to have my same system.
I want everyone to be stretching all the time at home in life’s mundane little moments so they feel GREAT, and LIGHT, and PASSIONATE about the life they are living. And with the myofascial release tools, it’s so EASY to do.
Myofascial Release Tools for Self Myofascial Release
Just like a physical therapist will work on the connective soft tissue of the body by applying pressure, you can do the same with various props and tools. Here are a few of my favorites:
Tennis Ball or Massage Ball
One of my favorite myofascial release tools that are especially helpful for deep tissue muscle pain in hard-to-reach areas like the hips or hamstrings is a massage ball (and, when in a pinch, a tennis ball). A massage ball is best used for targeted relief by applying intense pressure at exactly the spot that you need it. To use it, you simply apply pressure to the spots where you feel pain or tightness and hold it there for a few minutes. To really dig into deep tissue tightness, rest the entire weight of your body on the ball to apply pressure to the muscle. You will notice a significant increase in your mobility and joint range within a few uses, making this tool very addictive. This can be used on the hips, thighs, neck and shoulder, as well as the foot for those of you with plantar fasciitis.
Ah foam rollers, a runner’s best friend. It helps you dig into the major muscle groups that are usually only accessible with a deep tissue massage, making it a super popular form of self-administered physical therapy for athletes. To use a massage roller, simply lay the weight of your body across the foam roller and slowly move your body up and down so that the pressure of the foam can massage the area. This is commonly used on the legs and hamstrings, where many people suffer from tight IT bands and knots along the connective tissue. Many people find relief when they use it on their backs as well as it allows them to stretch the spine in a delicious way that is hard to do with regular stretching.
A Self-Massage Stick
To dig into those knots in the larger muscles, a massage stick is absolutely wonderful. You can roll it across the tops of your muscles where you feel tightness, such as in the calf, quads, and hamstrings. It is also useful on the connective tissue around the knee, where pain is brought on by tightness of the surrounding muscles.
If you’re interested in learning more about myofascial release and “hacking” stretching into your day-to-day life, explore my Always Be Stretching course in which I ship you my 5 favorite props and give you tons of videos about how I stretch 90-minutes or more on any given day.
Learn more HERE
Ultimately, I’m still selfish in a lot of ways.
I refuse to go to movie theaters with my husband because I can’t do my full on couch stretching routine (which also uses the wall, and is in the course) during the movie if we’re in a theater. I’d pretty much *always* rather go to yoga than cook dinner. I’d rather write, create or stretch than clean.
My goal is to take the power of yoga, conscious awareness of our body and minds OUT of just the yoga studio and INTO every moment of daily lives.
When you live your yoga, your family heals. Relationships flourish. The right people and opportunities are magnetically attracted to you.
So be selfish and optimize every moment in your precious life to take care of your body so you can feel great and show up as your best self for the people you love.