After my car was struck from behind, and it dawned on me that I was in the midst of a violent car accident, I did the only thing I could: I relaxed. I let all my limbs go limp and allowed myself to be thrown around with the momentum of each impact. The ability to relax on cue is a skill learned in yoga practice, and especially cultivated by using Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls. Through self-massage with the Tune Up® Balls, the practitioner gains intimate awareness of the tension and tightness in often ignored muscles. The morning of my accident I rolled out the upper back muscles that transition into my neck for even deeper tissue release than just stretching can provide. Check out the attached clip (from the 10 Minute Quick Fix for Upper Back) to take your upper back to the next level of flexibility and relaxation.

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Valérie Lavigne

Thank you for sharing!
This is real life application of the benefit of yoga and YTU therapy!
I have difficulty to relax on demand like you did even if I am a yoga teacher…
Still work to be done here!

Tatjana Brandl

Dear Ariel,
thank you for your article. That remindes me relaxing more and use more of the stuff I teach. If my life is to stressful, my body always tells me in any way. And than I know, I must have a breake NOW. Because it is the only thing I can do than… 🙂

Ilene Pellecchia

That’s what I love about yoga. We practice on the mat and when we need it the most like you did in this accident it was there for you. When we can soften and lean into a difficult situation or challenge vs resisting it magic happens.

Jason Koh

What you said is right on the money. Learning to relax during a car accident can truly be a lifesaver. And the same can be said for when dealing with human car wrecks who suddenly appear and seem to create havoc in our lives. Chilling and relaxing are the best ways to survive all of these pitfalls in life. Thanks for the post.

Eva Hamilton

Wow thanks for sharing about this experience. Amazing that the balls have assisted you to learn to react to such impact & stress with ease rather than guarding and tightening the body in response.

Melissa Melendres

Wow! What an experience! Thanks for sharing! YTU Therapy Balls are the best and my personal preference for self care! Thanks for the quick fix video reminder! I am a true believer that if one rolls out even for a few minutes it can make all the difference in various day to day activities.


I am glad I pulled up this blog. This Yoga Tune-Up sequence comes up on quite a few blogs, so you can see the importance of paying attention to the myofascial issues of the neck and upper shoulders. I have a student who was recently in a car accident. After getting approval from her physical therapist to do this Yoga Tune-Up sequence, the student had great response. More slide and glide of the tissues helped to improve the range of motion back to pre-car accident status. Thanks for sharing this experience.


Thank you for sharing this. How amazing of you to be able to relax mid car accident, and to be calm enough to roll yourself out post accident, as well. It is good to know that this technique isn’t just good for us tight folks, but also as a self-therapy technique from potentially traumatic accidents.


Thanks so much Ariel for this blog post! First, it is so inspiring how you used self- massage with the YTU therapy balls after the car accident- what great preventative and healing self care! This post and video really reminded me how great it will be for me to massage my upper back muscles, especially as I have a chronic neck conditions that flares up from time to time. Great reinforcement of the ball placement and all of the movements that help to regulate the pressure.

Roselyn Ramthun

Sorry about your accident, but grateful that you gave your body the knowledge it needed to make the most of it. Today was my first experience with the YTU Therapy Balls. The result was, after shavasana, the first time in years that I could rock my head totally to the left! I’m grateful for that too.

pam everson

Great story and shows how unbelievably strong and smart the body is. I appreciate you sharing the story.. I always thougth if I was in a plane crash I would survive because I take things to relax.. 🙂 you proved my theory!

Kristen B.

Yay YTU balls and relaxation. Today in training we rolled out our shoulders and I had a profound experience of understanding the relationship between the tension in my shoulders and a old lower back injury. Making those fascial connections and releases is such a wonderful gift.

Renee holden

I remember years ago, I instructed people to place tennis balls in socks and place them down their back, and down the walls behind them!
Thank goodness for the Yoga Tune Up balls , now I’m able to help clients with them ! The videos definitely enhance their experience, by giving them educational instruction!

Anna-Marie Lawrence

I never had the chance to thank you for sharing with me the tune up balls last Sept. at the temple. They have brought on a vast improvement not on to my physical well being, but my disposition as well. I’m not much for gushing out my thoughts and feelings , but I do have a couple of creeds I try to live by. One is: that respect is something we all deserve from one another, and second is: we should always let people know how much they are appreciated no matter how big or small the deed is. So… Read more »

Amy Deguio

Indeed you are so fortunate and educated/connected enough to your body to take action before the lingering effects of the trauma settled in too deeply. I love the work with the YTU balls that we have learned this week in Level 1 training!


Amazing what a little self love, and attention can do when you experience a trauma. The therapy balls are a resource that more people could use to open back up those places in the body where injury has occurred to begin that healing process again, before scar tissue has taken over. As the video clip shows, it doesn’t take much but some time for yourself, to reconnect with places we may want to avoid.

Allison McCready

LOVE this quick series with the YTU Therapy Balls! I do this just about every day with the addition of using the balls with a block at the base of the skull. I am amazed at how much better my back feels and how much more I’m getting out of my chiropractic adjustments and the bodywork I receive as a result of keeping the tissues tenderized with the balls between visits with my wellness practitioners.


Thanks for sharing Ariel!! I was just rolling around on the YTU Therapy Balls today in training, trying to let go of the tension. Bringing mindfulness from the practice is something I’m still trying to translate to the world “off the mat”.

Kate Kuss

Glad you are ok, Ariel! I never thought about self massage as much as I’m thinking about it now. It’s important for me to learn my body and be a student of my body. Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls are my new best friend. Well, definitely in my top 5. 🙂

Kristin Marvin

Self massage has saved me on many occasions! I believe that I would be ‘injured’ if it wasn’t for the yoga tune up balls. Yesterday, I was rollerblading home at 4:30pm from work. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and CLEAR. Everyone could see me and I was not going fast. Well, a car was just about to hit me and right before I just took off and flew to the right falling down right beside it. I did not hit the car but obviously I hit the pavement…. and hard. BUT I am okay and I have done a… Read more »


Do to a shoulder injury i carry lots of tesion in my upper back/neck area. Always protecting my shoulder and neck has created majory tightness in these areas. These exerciess with the therapy balls feel wonderful. They seem to be releasing a lot of the tension that is stored.


Ariel, prior to reading this, I never would have thought of relaxing in such a scenario. An amazing split-second decision to not tense,,, And it’s wonderful how you recovered so well. I think the ability to completely relax is very challenging, This makes me wonder if adrenaline and down-regulation can co-exist more often. Your three-series of articles shows the powerful and lasting positive impact regular use of the YTU balls can have on the body.

nadine wallace

I have just been introducted to using the YogaTune Up therapy balls. I have experienced noticeable relief in my shoulders and lower back from using the balls. Your story inspires me to use them daily!

Rachel Mattison

We certainly can’t get enough of that advice. A good Loosey Goosey doesn’t sweat the small stuff. And when the big stuff comes along, it would appear that it becomes an innate response to follow suit. While I haven’t been in any major car accidents (knock on wood), I need to regularly remind myself to breath deeply and relax. I’m new to the Yoga Tune Up Balls, but you don’t have to be any kind of expert to immediately experience the deep and total relaxation of a good YTU ball release. It’s like everything just melts. Can’t get enough of… Read more »


I discovered the same thing early in my yoga practice when I was surfing. If I got tossed by a wave, I would be less panicked and sore if I just let go and relaxed. That was a big Yoga “aha” moment.


When I was younger I remember using tennis balls to loosen the knots in my back and it hurts as much today as it did back then. It’s definitely a good ‘hurt’ though being that I can feel every muscle and tendon loosen with every roll. It feels like a deep tissue massage and, if done regularly, can open up my abdominal thoracic breathing.

Barry Au-Yeung

This is a great technique that I also learned from my instructor. This video is another great demo that can remind me how this is done. Thank you. B.


Great story! I’m glad you shared. I don’t know if I would be so bold as to start to really get into my muscles right after a car-accident, but I guess that comes with intuitive self-knowing of the body. This video is great as well, and Jill is so genuine with her speech; you can really tell it relaxes her each time. That muscle group is such a tense bunch! They really like to contract. I wonder how it’d affect the body if you slid the scapula up and down in opposite directions…? hmm … gonna go roll-it-out!


Ariel, you rock sister. I’m so grateful that your diligent practice served you in such a significant, tangible way. You enlightened me about the YTU Therapy Balls when I was in one of your classes so THANK YOU. I ended up doing the YTU Therapy Ball Immersion Training (which I highly recommend) and am now in Jill’s TT. You brought me here! I was first struck with your use of the YTU Therapy Balls in relation to your running, and general athleticism. Several clients of mine are strong athletes and often it is challenging, and costly, for them to get… Read more »

M Empson

The art of self therapy is extremely important to share – thank you for the video showing us how to relieve tension in the upper back. Learning how to heal oneself – as well as prevent injuries – is an important practice that everyone should utilize. Not everyone has the time or means to get professional massages outside so it is very beneficial to learn how to care for our own bodies, when and where we need it!

yvette jain

this video is really great! one of my clients is always tight in the scapulae and levator muscles — this is a great exercise for her.

Danielle Walsh

Self therepy is so important i actually just tried this exercise for the first time yesterday in my teacher training. Doing this relieved so much tension i had that i didnt even know was their. I have ever intention to continue this self therepy continually it really makes a difference!

Erika O

Ariel, that’s really inspiring that you were able to heal yourself after such a traumatic experience using something so natural. I think what you went through was truly incredible and I find your story absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your truly touching story.

george hirsch

watching the video and seeing the ball placement on the body was so helpful. i am always so tight around and above the scapula, and this practice with the balls is so helpful. its also great to read that after time one can change their immediate response in a situation, such as a car accident, from panic and tension to relaxation.


Ariel, thanks for telling your story. I’m struck by your point that the Therapy Balls provide a way to cultivate a letting go to pressure, to impacts and outside forces. When I practised Aikido the instruction was always to not resist the force, instead flow with it and redirect it. That the same practicing of the teaching is available via the Therapy Balls is exciting. When we learn it, then we naturally use it in daily life.

Terry Ford

That could have easily translated into a serious whiplash injury by the sounds of it. Thankfully you were able to keep aware enough and to do so in split second timing, to keep relaxed. Thanks for posting the video – working with the balls is complex for those of us just starting to use them, so that is very helpful. Yumee, that is one of my greatest fears of motor vehicle operation – being in a vehicle that rolls.


A friend of mine was sleeping in the back of a van when it rolled. He was the only passenger who walked away from the accident unscathed. He believes his body was so relaxed it just bounced like a ball. Learning to relax during times of stress is a powerful life skill–one that benefits body and mind.

Alissa Aboud

Thanks so much for sharing. It’s incredible to think that with yoga you were able to completely relax your body in a situation where most people would tense up. Just another way you can take your yoga off the mat and into your life in a challenging situtation. Thanks for posting the video as well. It will be useful to help open up tight muscles in not only the students I have that work in the office setting, but with the athletes as well. 🙂

Eva Berswick

this is very good to know, thanks for sharing it. I wish I had this knowledge when I had my accident way back. But even just sitting at the computer all day long, doing these moves give an amazing releif afterwards. It took me a little practice to position the balls properly and the video helps a great deal. Thanks.

todd lavictoire

thank you for sharing your experience Ariel. it’s amazing that you were able to do self therapy so soon after the accident, but also very fortunate too. 🙂
it’s good to know that YTU therapy can start so soon after a traumatic event (being mindful and practicing compassion for self of course). i will keep your story in mind when working with students 🙂

thanks also for posting this video. i just did a routine very similar to this with Jill today 🙂