My daily Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball routine always includes a roll out for the upper back. My day involves driving in the car, teaching, and sitting (or standing) at my desk. All activities are in front of me, which makes it very tempting to slouch! My upper back tends to be very tight and knotty, as it is with many people who also drive or work at a computer all day. A quick rub down for the upper back will helps to refresh and rehydrate these overworked muscles.

Watch our QuickFix online video on stress relief

Learn about stress relief solutions

Read more about stress relief

Alexandra Ellis

Alexandra Ellis is an Integrated Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method Teacher Trainer, RYPT-500 and founder of AE Wellness. Her teaching and studies focus on injury prevention, rehabilitation and wellness, inspired by her studies at UC Davis where she earned a BS in Exercise Biology. With a strong background and keen interest in anatomy and physiology, Alex strives to empower people to improve their health and well being through a personal movement practice and enhanced body awareness.

Leave a Reply

56 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
55 Comment authors

Yes! This needs to happen on the daily. Seriously – that area is ALWAYS in need. Thanks Alex.

Jennifer Mayer

I sit at a desk all day and this is such an amazing un-glue! I often forget to hug myself, but will now add it to my daily routine; nothing like some self-love!


Love the cues that Jill uses- “physic bra strap”, inflate, swell…etc. Makes it easy to follow along to and incorporate more of on a daily basis! 🙂

Scott McKee

Knowing how good rolling will make me feel, I still struggle to make time for it every day. In fact, when my time is short, I find I usually crave the joy of athletic exertion and the moving meditation of a vigorous yoga class, but I’m hoping to learn how to incorporate rolling as part of my daily routine, perhaps in shorter blocks of time (just before bed) or while I’m doing other things (reading or watching TV).

Vickie Chartrand

Le haut du dos, c’est mon endroit préféré ou placer les balles! Après quelques minutes de massage, je ressens dejà une différence et détente dans mon dos. Personnellement, je préfère faire cette séquence au mur.


Making a daily practice of rolling out ‘grumpy’ areas of my body has made a huge difference in how the rolled out muscles feel. It is so easy and does not take much time to feel immediate results. I have tried several rolling technique on my knees, IT band and tensor fasciae late and had great success! Thank you for the article!

Lita Remsen

I have been rolling regularly for several months now and I do feel the quality of my tissue to be more supple and resilient. It has been such a benefit to feel like there is something I can do for myself when I feel kinked up. And beyond that, I have learned so much about my body through the process of rolling and, in general, feel better.


Thank you ! I have figured out for my body the slower I move the better the results❤️

Delfina Bonilla-Lopez

This is totally and sooo many of my clients, family and friends. One way that I make this part of my regular YTU practice is actually to do this when I’m watching a TV show or a movie at the end of the night. It’s so easy and feels so good and doesn’t interrupt show-watching so there’s absolutely no excuse not to do it!. I love doing it at the end of the day as well because it helps unwind from the forward movement (computer, teaching, walking, cooking…etc.) that I’ve already gone through and helps achieve a more anatomical neutral… Read more »

Giselle Mari

This is such a great reminder and a great daily practice. When I feel I’ve been in a steady hunch-asana or my breathing is tight, I can go to this practice. It provides stress relief and improves my breathing, releases shoulder tension, and helps with my overall posture.
I think I need to revisit this stat.


I don’t miss a day rolling out my upper back. I especially love placing the balls on either side of my thoracic vertebrae T-2 and roll super slow all the way down towards T-8.

Elizabeth Bond

This is part of my daily self care to reset my body from working on massage clients. The Yoga Tune Up balls and this sequence was a lifesaver to me while hiking with a huge backpack. Recently, I did this sequence against a wall in an airport and all the weary travelers were intrigued!

Kerry Cruz

This is a great tip for me. I’m constantly trying to remind myself to stand straight, sit straight, walk straight all trying to open up my upper body. I will be trying to make this part of my own daily routine and see where this progression takes my body 🙂

Jennifer Kruidbos

Oh ya girl! Daily self-care and self-love using therapy balls is a must. I am committing to enjoying this magical release daily. The balls have been doing wonders for my feet.


This has started to give me neck and upper back relief from chronic pain caused by a hypermobile cervical spine and overworked traps. And also fewer visits to my chiro!

Andrew Bathory

Amen Sister! I am a balliever. From the first time I rolled on these magic love units, I have known their value. I am inspired by you to commit to a daily self-care practice of releasing tension in such a useful way. Thank you!

Serge Goyette

Very interesting blog, thanks to Alex .

Jen Wende

Love this tip! I have also begun a daily routine of this sequence and it has truly helped me reduce and release my tension in the upper back. I’ve been doing it against the wall throughout my pregancy and has been wonderful!


This is a great practice. I start most mornings with the Coregeous Ballto wake up my breath. At end each day I massage my feet after they have be “on” all day long. They are great ways to start and end the day.


Great for massage therapists to do every day! So much time spend bending over the massage table pressing down with the arms is at least as tough on the upper back as a desk job!

Colleen Alber

Breathe into your back! I couldn’t agree more…it’s not just chest and belly. It was these basic back/ and shoulder rolls that first got me hooked on Yoga Tune Up (balls). I always think bra strap for proper placement. Whether the bra strap line is physic or not. My new goal is to do them every day…to counteract bad screen and steering wheel habits.

Dustin Brown

I love this move. Everyday I am driving , running , practicing yoga, Brazilian JiuJitsu and many other activities. I always make the time to roll out the days stiffness. Its essential! Yoga tune up balls are a perfect density and grippyness for self massage. Than you for sharing


I workout daily and try the best that I can to make rolling a daily practice however I will admit time escapes me and before I know it it’s time to go to bed as I am up at 5am each morning. I am going to try and be diligent with making the time there are no excuses.

Nell Guzman

I decided to take the YTU Teacher Training because of the therapy balls, the first time I was introduce to the ball was in my Yoga Teacher Training about two years ago, I learned a lot of the techniques through the website but nothing compare to being in a classroom during a YTU Teacher Training. I could not help my clients without making the balls part of the experience and the healing process. I am no only helping them release their pain, but they are learning how to do it for themselves; and take the learning experience home with them… Read more »


Definitely a go to therapy ball routine for me, on the daily 🙂 Love the mindfulness drawn to the lungs and muscles affecting respiratory movement, as well as those that affect internal and external rotation of the shoulder joints throughout the exercise.


I always enjoy rolling out this area, although I am lucky because I don’t have alot of upper back tension. That being said I know that many of my students do and I am excited to bring this technique into my yoga classes to help them work through this area.


nice article!
since i discovered the tune up balls i use them a lot, to realese pain and stress but as well to help increasing my flexibility
very good tool


I tried “rolling” for the first time today and I’ve got to say, it was pretty painful. But I felt the rewards of it as soon as I sat up. My upper back muscles were so much looser. I’ll keep at it and hopefully, it will help with my lazy posture. Thanks for this blog, Alexandra!


I am a full time student with an extremely intense, demanding and stressful curriculum. I spend the lion’s share of my day sitting in a classroom and typing notes. Along with martial arts, Yoga has given me a tool to keep myself balanced and healthy. This Yoga Tune Up Ball Therapy daily routine will give me a quick and accessible tool to mediate stress and anxiety, and will give me something to look forward to at the end of my day.

Cindy Runzer

Excellent advice! I use the YTU Therapy Balls all the time and keep a set at the office to share with my colleagues. At home my teenage daughter knows where to find them and uses the balls to roll out her upper back and shoulders after horseback riding.


Great video! I agree with everyone about incorporating the therapy balls daily. My upper back tends to be tight as well. I’m taking my extra set of yoga therapy balls to my office so I can use them on stretch breaks.


This area is both my favorite and my most dreaded area to roll out because I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders. From carrying a heavy bag to rolling luggage through the airport, knots are for ever present in my upper and middle back. Rolling has gone from taking my breath away, to a pleasurable pain, which means I’m able to continue to work through the kinks. Everyone should be rolling out their backs daily!

Bridget Hughes

This area is the bermuda triangle of my body, a great reminder to do these daily, the area can only get better. love that!

Katherine Deicke

After taking the yoga tune up class this past weekend as part of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I definitely will be incorporating rolling in my daily routine! Funny how during class everytime our teacher (Lillie Chandra) would say “now we’re going to roll!” Everyone was so excited as if we were literally getting one hour massages, but by our own selves! I can’t believe I didn’t pick this up earlier and I’m excited to bring it to other peoples lives.

Julie Granger

After a weekend of Yoga Tune Up classes, I am definitely convinced of the importance of using the balls ! During the classes, we would feel so much more elongated, less sore, more flexible right after we used them! It was like a miracle in such a short period of time. The balls also help find places where I did not know I was sore ! It helps finding muscles that we often forget about, but that are really tense and probably responsible for bad posture. What I also found amazing is that the balls can be used in so… Read more »

Aaron Porter

Yes! Roll Out everyday. I have been rolling out almost everyday and my posture has changed so much. People I haven’t seen for awhile that is the first thing they notice. I feel 18 years younger. This routine of rolling out is a must do! 😉


This is so essential for musicians, in conjunction with trap rolling. Rounding in the upper spine and allowing the shoulders to protract is often the culprit, and this can bring necessary awareness to the tissues.


Before my Yoga Tune Up Teacher Training, I had used the therapy balls only once. I can see, how incorporating them into my daily pratice will be a huge gain – plus it`s super yummy 🙂

Lara Weithorn

I’m always telling clients “you only need to do it for a few minutes, here and there” in an attempt to get them started on the habit…but the truth for me is; once I start on certain areas, it’s hard to pull me off of them! Hahaha. If I start getting good releases in my shoulder girdle; oh gosh! I can easily spend an hour in the region. Yummm! …Hips are a different story though; very hard to start or stay there I hate to say. I’ve been trying to make “hip-time” a 2014 resolution.

Aaron Porter

This Upper Back sequence is one of my favorite sequences. It really opens up my T-Spine. I do this at least once a week.

Tina Broome

Hi Alexandra, I like how rolling out on the balls makes my body feel too. But I am curious as to the science behind it. I have heard teachers use words like “rehydrate” the tissue and “refresh.” Does that mean that when I roll on the ball more water is going into the tissue? Hmmm, looks like I’ve got some homework to do to find out! 😉


A few years ago I had a masseuse that told me that my back was like a railroad track. No amount of stretching ever seemed to relieve the tightness. Any gains made in a class were quickly erased by my regular daily movements. Thank you for reminding me that I can’t just do it once a week and go. Its a daily practice, and to feel any relief, I need to attend to it every day.

Morgan Ward

Whenever I go through periods of forgetting to use my YTU balls, I always realize what I was missing out on when I do it again! I usually go to 5:45 am yoga, which makes it hard to wake up just a bit earlier to roll out, but when I go to a night class and I have time to use my YTU balls before hand I notice SUCH a big difference.

Lindsay Smith

Thank you for the brilliant reminder on ‘self-love!’ I think my favorite part of our YTU Level 1 training was the wonderful attention that we were able to spoil ourselves with on the YTU Therapy Balls. I, too, spend so much time at my computer and adjusting students that holding a few moments aside each morning to decompress my spine and supportive muscles makes the biggest difference in the world. I can breath easier, maneuver more fluidly and with a larger sense of grace.

Jason Campbell

I’ve had YTU balls for awhile, but for some reason just haven’t made it a daily practice yet. What’s wrong with me?!?! lol Once i’m home from training I’ll definitely need to focus on making that a daily wake up routine. After rolling out the QL the other day, i realize i definitely need it daily.

Amanda Morley

I have been using the balls to assist with some post surgery scarring around my hip. But recently starting using them on my upper back and ribs. I was surprised at how much tension I was holding there. As the tissue is a little sensitive I have been taking easy but hoping that over time I will see some change. I know that using the Yoga Tune Up balls have started to help my hip.

Linh Taylor

Since I know of the therapy balls, I have been using them daily. I always have a ball in my purse. I even traveled and went backpacking with it. I don’t think I would have survived Everest BC without the balls. When I go hiking, I like to roll my feet and hips at the end of the day. But do remember not to go too deep and stay too long on the gluteus maximus because you don’t want it to be too relaxed the next day. I have sprained my ankle so many times but since I started using… Read more »

Blake Rogers

I do way too much driving and at the age of 32 suffer from lower back pain. When it first started i felt it was from over training MMA or not using correct techniques during my weight training. Life changes and yoga has helped a lot and now that i have been introduced to YTU ball therapy i can now give my self a deep tissue massage every day and really get in control of my personal health. Give back to my body that i demand so much from, without having to schedule or budget in a massage with a… Read more »

Geoff Brown

Great post! I have made the resolution to roll out more often too – especially, the glutes and thighs. I strongly believe that integrating the YTU Therapy Balls and the following the YTU Templates is a pathway to creating a practice which is rooted in self care while thoughtfully readying and strengthening your body for engaged movements (both on and off the mat).

Hilda Montane

I love this demonstration and I own these tune up balls, they are amazing! I was wondering if you think these moves are safe for a woman who is 87 and is in constant back, neck and shoulder pain from arthritis? She does yoga, but not enough…