Have you ever heard the phrase do as I say, not as I do? That seems to be the story of my life when it comes to my clients in my massage therapy practice, Michigan Massage and Wellness. I preach to them the value of incorporating regular massage therapy into their wellness routine. I have clients that have been coming in since day one when I opened my doors over 13 years ago, and they understand the importance of setting time aside for themselves.

So, why don’t I practice what I preach? Well for one, I can’t massage myself. I mean, I can’t jam an elbow into my trapezius and wait for the tissues to melt away…but I can do the next best thing and break out my trusty Roll Model® Therapy Balls and that’s the next best thing!

I stumbled into Yoga Tune Up® and the Roll Model® Method purely by accident. In 2016, I had my second ankle sprain on the left ankle, and it was a doozy. (I don’t just mildly sprain something, I go for a 75% ligament tear-go big or go home, right?). As a result, I developed a constant dull ache in my right hip and piriformis area. We are talking months of just enough discomfort to make me notice it. So, doing what I do, I got massages. I stretched. I did cupping. I did dry needling. I drove down I-75 on my way to visit a friend in Kentucky with a lacrosse ball wedged under my glute for an hour because sitting was when I had the most discomfort. I wouldn’t really call it pain, but again, a dull ache that was such a nuisance that I just couldn’t get comfortable after about 20 minutes of sitting. The car was the worst! I would get down on the floor into pigeon after work and get relief, but it was only temporary.

Then one day I was listening to one of my regular podcasts, Bee The Wellness, and Jill Miller was on talking about Yoga Tune Up® and these little therapy balls. Being the person that I am, I immediately went online and ordered the Treat While You Train Kit and The Roll Model Method book, and that is when I found relief.

My first ball was the ALPHA ball. I was used to lacrosse balls, but when I placed the ALPHA under my hip and started rolling, doing some cross fibering, a little contract relax and some sustained compression thrown in for good measure I knew these balls were different. I spent about 5 minutes working on my right side and a few days later (because you know, I still wasn’t making enough time for myself) I spent another 5 minutes, and then one day about a week later I noticed something. That dull, nagging ache that had plagued me for over a year was nearly gone! “What is this sorcery?!” I thought to myself, and immediately I needed more.

So, doing what I do best, I got online to the Tune Up Fitness website and started looking around at the YTU At Home program as well as trainings, because I needed to learn more. Again, I can’t give myself a massage, but these therapy balls had already quickly proved to be something that I needed in my self-care arsenal. And after I completed my Roll Model Method® practitioner training, I quickly shunned almost all of my mobility tools. Foam rollers and lacrosse balls were dead to me. No more uncomfortable rolling on dense pieces of foam or hard balls that if rolled over a clavicle would send me through the roof. I had found relief and it was glorious!

You see, I kind of hate yoga. Well, hate is a strong word, but I always found the repetitive downward dogs and planks to not really be what I needed. I would find myself staring at the clock during a class going through yet another warrior pose, just wishing the hour was up. But I felt like it was something I had to do because, you know, I spend my days fixing people and at the end of the day my body feels a bit broken. Now, when I return home after a long day of clients and roll my feet out on the originals for 5 minutes, I feel like I’m walking on air. Rolling around on my Coregeous® ball to just decompress and chill out for a few, or the occasional touch up on my hips and glutes with the ALPHA is not only so much easier to do, but there is so much more relief than repetitive sun salutations could ever give me.

After I completed my Yoga Tune Up® teacher training in 2017, I had an even better understanding of how the body works (even more than my education in massage school), and learning how different YTU is from a traditional yoga class, I was sold. Additionally, incorporating YTU along with the therapy ball work gave me relief. Relief that I couldn’t get on my own through other methods. The practicality of it all! Working on my specific problem areas, not just some generic class. For once, it’s all about me, and when I am making my days all about other people and fixing them, it’s nice to finally make my own self-care a priority again. Now, for my little alteration to the adage –  Do as I say AND as I do: Please, take 10 minutes out for yourself each day…your body will thank you.

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Alyssa

Yes! I’ve been really enjoying any class that I can take at the gym/yoga/pilates studio that offers the opportunity to roll out on Yoga Tune Up Balls as it can be a therapeutic and much less expensive therapy than a getting a hands-on massage regularly. At home, I use my YTU balls at least every other day – works immediately and is an efficient use of my time.

Gail

Yes, great article. As teachers we often get so busy teaching classes that we forget WE need care, too! I used to think that when I was teaching a class I would get a “workout”, too. NOT TRUE! Several years ago I stopped teaching classes on Wednesdays and Fridays so that I would have time for ME …I’ve never regretted it! Thank you!

Janice Quirt

Yes, YES! Sometimes I look back over my week and take stock of the yoga classes I’ve taught and the students I’ve helped with ball rolling…and I can’t even remember the last time I did that for myself and my body blind spots. I’m going to make it a priority – roll on the balls right after brushing my teeth! I also loved my YTU and learned so much.

Lucy Beiler

How great to read about your journey towards turning care into self care, practicing what you preach. I appreciate your inquisitiveness to just order the Therapy Balls and see what happens. Yoga Tune Up and the Roll Model Therapy Balls are how I stay pain free on a daily basis. It is also what prompted me to take the YTU Level 1 Training and share with others what works for me. I enjoy yoga as well and more so when I have rolled out so that my embodied experience is more deeply felt. Three cheers for YTU and Roll Model… Read more »

Lezann

As a yoga teacher I agree that the standard yoga class isn’t doing enough to address imbalance and blind spots that exist in the body. The balls have become a great tool to supplement my yoga classes and have definitely taken my self-care to the next level!

Georgia

LOVE this! Sounds very similar to my experience of not liking a lot of yoga and self-care modalities out there. A friend gave me a set of the small therapy balls when I was telling her how I couldn’t find something dense, but soft enough to not damage the muscles I was trying to work. I have a lot of anatomy and physiology in my background, and I also have sustained a lot of injuries – I have become very aware of when a yoga pose or movement could possibly hurt me. I felt like most yoga instructors I went… Read more »

Anne-Marie

I think you nailed it. Why do we find it so hard to follow the same advice we would give our clients. I feel like since I start YogaTuneUp I have had the tools to take care of my body’s needs in a much more refined and skillful way. It was like the missing piece.

Elaine

“What is this sorcery?!” was exactly my reaction too. It’s incredible that YTU was able to give you more insight into the body than massage school, that’s so empowering to hear about.

Holly Egan

Do as I say not as I do – was an ah-ha moment for me in my YTU teacher training at Connect Yoga with Amanda Tripp this week. Finally, I have found a practice that connects the analytical why of what we do with the how we can action the theory. What I am so very excited about similar to you Rebecca, is that this self care program is so amazing, its not hard and the benefits are endless. I have a new perspective on the no pain no gain philosophy. Taking care of ourselves shouldn’t have to be complex… Read more »

John Watson

I can relate to hating yoga. It’s nice to move and stretch, but I’ve had too many experiences with bad yoga teachers who can’t really explain “why” I should be bending myself up into a pretzel. Not so with YTU. All the YTU teachers I’ve had are well-informed and best of all they constantly emphasize body awareness. They never ask students to blindly get into a pose. They provide context and encouragement to listen to our own bodies and practice with the intent of gaining knowledge.

Mary

Yoga Tune Up taught me more about anatomy and body mechanisms then ever before even after over 20 years of movement practice. If you are considering taking a workshop and are not sure, I am telling you not to hesitate. It will be an investment in yourself first and you will not regret it later. I certainly did not.

Duygu (Dee) Ozkan

Rebecca, Thank you for sharing your personal and professional experience. You had a happy accident by listening Jill’s podcast which basically changed your life. As a healer you deserve the best of the healing:) Thank you for reminding the importance of daily practice as well.

Dee(Duygu) Ozkan

Thank you Rebecca for sharing your own experience and story. I am glad that you listened that podcast accidentally and it made a big change on your life:) As a healer you deserve a good healing for your body as well. By combining YTU, RMM and your years of massage experience, I am sure you take care of yourself in the best way. 🙂

Judi

Ha! I love your lacrosse ball story, because it sounds so… familiar! I also appreciate your sentiment about downward dogs and planks. Your article is refreshing and fun. Thanks!

Taylor

I found this post so relatable. I too am not overly passionate or interested in yoga. I find it repetitive and I feel like yes I moved, but I didn’t necessarily move what I wanted to move. With my job as a strength and conditioning coach I want to be able to focus on specific areas and I want simplicity for the kids we coach. Using the balls, especially for kids and young adults is perfect because the kids will feel the results immediately and it is something I can teach them to do at home.

Magdalena Weinstein

Rebecca, thanks for your post. I agree with all that you wrote, and your story could be mine as well, except that my injury happened longer than a decade ago doing Kurmasana, my harmstrings made the most horrible popping sound ever, literally it felt and sounded like the tissues had ripped at the origin right when I was wrapping my hands under my legs to finish the full forward bend. Since then it all went downhill and has taken everything and more to feel balanced and able to be pain-free. I’m so glad to be learning YTU and using these… Read more »

Haley Bevers

So awesome that you got rid of the nagging pain! Agree…the therapy balls are fabulous.

Loren Altura

Rebecca, bravo for finding what works for you and also coming to terms with what doesn’t work for you in a traditional yoga class. I think many can relate to your sense of the poses not working and being able to experiment and experience in Yoga Tune-Up arena is a game changer. Very inspiring!

Megan

My dad always said “do as I say and not as I do” and I really hated that phrase. It’s only now that I’m realizing have been so guilty of this too! Being a massage therapist yet never getting a massage or taking care of myself the way I told my clients to. I’m so happy I found yoga tune up. Congrats on completing your teacher training!

Lexy Cann

Thank you for your story. My experience with trying various massage tools very much mirrors yours– thank you Jill Miller! As a yoga instructor, I really appreciate your perspective on why you do yoga and why you sorta hate it:-)
I use the balls in almost every class- now I know why my classes have grown!

Lexy Cann

Thank you for your story. My experience with trying various massage tools very much mirrors yours– thank you Jill Miller! As a yoga instructor, I really appreciate your perspective on why you do yoga and why you sorta hate it:-)
I use the balls in almost every class- now I know why my classes have boomed!

Kammy Fung

Rebecca, thank you for sharing. I enjoy massage a lot. Personally massage is my health insurance however the insurance is not cheap and sometimes is not accessible during certain hour. Therapy ball is my second the best when I can’t access a manual release. But I have to commit to certain spot of the body the ball work much better than the manual release since I am in controlled on how much I can get it to myself and maybe I can stay slightly longer on a blind spot The more I rolled with my balls, the more I can… Read more »

Peggy Stevens

Rebecca, you expressed it all very well. How many of us who do this for a living could share the exact same story. The balls are amazing and so simple . . . yet so effective. Prior to their use, they are just one more prop that could sit on the shelf after purchase . . . and how many of those do we all have? Once they have been used the proof is in the results. That’s when you see clients wanting more than one set . . . one for their desk, one for the each car, and… Read more »