[For Jill’s how and why on stretching, read the first half of this article here.]

Stretching, Phase 3: There’s more than one way to stretch!

The good news is that there are a multitude of ways to stretch those muscles and fascias. Stretching can be a fun and variety-filled activity. No really, it’s fun!

Here is a “menu” of different ways to stretch your body — some familiar and some novel approaches, but all very good for your tight tissues.

1. Static stretching is still and statue-like, like you would do in yoga.

2. Dynamic stretching involves continuous motion.

3. With passive stretching, someone else stretches you. Hooray! Activities such as Thai massage are a form of stretching.

4. Self-massage using balls eradicates tightness quickly by providing a “mini-stretch” that pinpoints specific knots, or trigger points, within the muscles and can provide a deep penetrating stretch into hard-to-reach places. Often called yoga balls or therapy balls, these are portable “stretchers” that can be used anywhere, anytime — even at your desk! (See video clip below or the 10 Minute Quick Fix for Hips for some IT band YTU Therapy Ball work)

5. Foam rollers are another great method of stretching the larger muscles of the body.

6. Stretching can be aided by using strong elastic bands to create traction and joint movement.

More stretching tips to follow on Friday!

Read our “Stretch anytime, anywhere.” article.

Check out our solutions for Tight hamstrings or IT Bands.

Learn about our Therapy Ball Programs.

[Reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life.]

Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Gloria Tan

Thank you Jill for introducing me to whole new ways of stretching, especially the dynamic stretching and the YTU balls stretching! My practice has risen to a new level now. I found these dynamic stretching very difficult at first because I never did them, but now I’m loving the new awakened muscles (adductors, abductors, shoulder rotators, serratus) the Prasarita Lunges, Frog crawls, Matador circles, mega plank with active serratus. Waiting for my box of balls to come so I can share!

Heidi Knapp

I love how the therapy balls bridge the gap for me. For many actually going to a massage therapist just doesn’t happen for some it’s social, financial, or personal. The opposite of this, massaging the self doesn’t happen either, “why is that person rubbing themselves?” or simply “I just can’t reach.” Bringing this self care tool into my own hands not only relieves and stretches, but brings about greater body awareness. As I feel into my body I feel more connected and create more understanding. This is exactly what want my students to feel. It doesn’t have to be expensive,… Read more »

Vrinda Liza Eapen

Yoga has allowed me to hold static positions well. I realise that with specific Vinyasa, I have become used to certain dynamic movements but the yoga tune up adductor slides are helping me learn new patterning. Thank you!


Yoga turn up balls are really great help for streching and massasing. I love to strech my body and since I got my own yoga balls I strech and make self massage severel times a week. It is such a fantastic way to release the pain and stress. Love the yoga balls!!! It is the best way to get massage and strech our body without any help.


The Yoga Tune Up balls are great. My trainer always stresses how important the foam rollers are but most of us don’t have foam rollers at home! Easy to do at home, anytime. Great tips!

Aaron Vanderhoof

When it comes to the IT bands I find that it is hard to get patients to progress with foam rolling alone. It is however a great tool to show patients so that they don’t regress between visits.


I really love assisted stretching, when doing seated forward folds I always beg my husband to apply some pressure and maybe some added massage ;p. But also even using your arms to hold onto something and pull yourself (gently, of course) can help assist with the stretch without it coming from your back or legs. But passive stretch is hard to get!

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Barry Au-Yeung

Thank you. This simulates the massage as if someone is working on the side of my legs. Very useful technique. B.


This was sensitive at first, but quickly started to feel normal. Thanks.

Amanda Z

The lateral portion of the leg houses some very sensitive tissues. I tend to avoid massaging the IT band due to my proprioception here. I know that the more time I spend giving love to this area, the healthier my tissues will become. I can handle the use of two balls distributing body weight better than one. I think I should probably demonstrate this against a wall when teaching clients so the overflow stays out of my facial expression.


For the last several days, I have been lying on the hard wood floor rather than a mat to roll on my therapy balls. I find that this gives me more freedom to move in many directions and change the tempo of the massage more easily since I slide on the floor.

Stretch Anytime, Anywhere | Yoga Tune Up

[…] By: Jill Miller | Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 | Comments 4 Category: Flexibility, Jill Miller, stretching | Tags: Flexibility, stretching, stretching exercises, Yoga, Yoga Therapy [See previous entries on Jill's stretching series here and here.] […]

Janet Berkowitz

Yes, these yoga tune up balls are such a great tool for stretching.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was told to stretch my IT band (YTU balls are definitely more effective than foam rollers here!)
to alleviate knee pain (on the medial side)


I was helping someone today with a few poses, including Happy Baby Mini Vini and Moon Rises. She is a smart woman who is up on healthy eating and understands the importance of exercise and keeping the body mobile. However, after an injury during a twisting pose in a conventional yoga class, this person stopped not only yoga, but pretty much all forms of stretching. Before her session today, she had very tight hamstrings, soreness in the middle back, stiff shoulders and indications of carpal tunnel in the forearms and wrists. Just a few breaths in Plank with Active Serratus… Read more »


This has been a really tight area for me and when I finally was able to utilize the the tune-up balls to get into it I was surprised at how intense it was and also so very relieved to find a solution to that tight IT band. I was so enthused that I shared it with friends, some of which couldn’t barely move over it, and others who had no problem at all rolling and sliding. I love this blog; it’s so simple and concise, such an easy way to learn and remember!


I just experience rolling the yoga tune up balls on my IT Band, and it was intense because I feel like I was rolling even deeper than the IT Band and in some parts it felt a bit painful and in others delish so I recommend that we take long deep breaths when massaging our body with the balls to slowly observe the sensations and stay present with them.

Dawn Adams

The breakdown of the different ways or approaches to stretch a muscle or group of muscles really highlights for me that I can use all of these methods on the same muscle group to access and release hidden tension from many directions. For example, statically stretching the shoulders in Open Sesame to increase shoulder extension, vs. Bridge arms in Prasarita alternating between actively depressing the scapulae and passively elevating them, vs. having a partner help me rotate and extend, and then teasing through the fibers of the rotator cuff and pec minor using the balls — amazing stuff to flush… Read more »

saharah ali

Training is intense for me. I’m losing sleep. Anatomy of a baller! Home…….work…….!

saharah ali

“Breathe and ball”s a new way to the heart. Today in YTU training I had an emoitional break thur. We worked the lower body (my favorite so far) which I know released something or someone from deep inside of me. Tears came but, no throughts, no deep emoitional response just big fat tears, washing and clearing something . So my natural state at that time was to just breathe. Listen to Ms Jill Miller and breathe . Breathe in everthing at that moment . So I did just that. Let go, surrender to the breathe surrender to the moment in… Read more »

saharah ali

I m ao in love with the new language of yoga! To speak anatomy yoga is my new quest in life. Who knew, a way to move the body and stimulate the brain. Just think it all started with balls. (smile) “Anatomy Articulation”

Andrea Penagos

In response to the the video: Getting into the IT band with the balls was so intense. It’s interesting how we hold so much tension in tissues, important tissues, we never give a second thought to, as if those tissues didn’t even exist! I found that going across the fibers of the IT band with the balls was really helpful in terms of highlighting specific areas within and around the IT band that were tighter than others. Look forward to transitioning to one ball as opposed to two once the tissue gives more and allows for deeper pressure.


I find Dynamic stretching to be such a fun and energetic way to stretch, half happy baby minivini gives so much release and relief to my hamstrings and all I fell like I’m doing is rolling around on the floor playing lie a baby.

saharah ali

Since my introduction to Ms. Jill Miller and her super fancy yoga tune up balls, I have become a ball junkie. I have a chronic left knee aliment that just won”t seem to go away, but since I”ve been ballin (lol) my knee is less painful. I know my IT band is tight because I spin cycle and run on the tread mill as well as sit in my car for long drives. I plan to educate myself a lot more on all the procedures that will help heal my knee and IT tension. Self massaging is saving my life!

Dawn Adams

I particularly appreciate the therapy balls as a stretching/self-massage tool. If my IT band is feeling particularly irritable, I use both balls (either in the tote, or as individual units) to help work out tension all along that tough, fibrous sheath of connective tissue. It hurts good.