In my last article, I introduced the insidious world of body blind spots; areas of your body that you do not sense well. But what to do when you discover parts of your body that have been over used, underused misused, abused and/or confused? In this post, I will be sharing techniques to help begin a self-care practice to illuminate body blind spots.
1) Help students understand that just because one part of their body is hurting, that doesn’t mean that’s the only part of their body that needs care. Recently, a client complained of neck pain and told me rolling it out wasn’t making it feel better. In our work together, I recognized that the problem was actually originating in her pectoralis minor, a muscle on the chest. She shifted her rolling to that location and the neck pain vanished. Together, we illuminated and subsequently eliminated her blind spot.
2) Start classes with skin rolling, light pin and spin, and gentle ball plow. See “The Nine Essential Roll Model Ball Techniques” (pg. 170) of Jill’s book The Roll Model for more information on these techniques. Pin, spin and ball plow are gentle but sensational and will help ease students and first timers to the sensation of Roll Model Therapy Balls. This is also good for seniors, children, and sensitive populations to introduce them to the texture and grip of the balls while simultaneously improving their proprioception.
3) When using newer balls, including the ALPHA, start on the wall instead of the floor which can lessen some of the discomfort people deal with when first starting out. Often, people are stuck in the “no pain, no gain” mentality and starting on the wall can begin to show them results with less pain. The wall also gives people better control to explore the nooks and crannies that can be more difficult to access on the floor.
4) Keep a rolling journal of your sessions. This is an idea I expanded off of Andrew Biel’s (author of Trail Guide to the Body) suggestion of keeping a palpation journal. Experiment with different ball sizes and techniques and record the results. You will develop a better relationship with your blind spots as you track them and be encouraged to pay close attention to rolling.
5) Keep a journal of your classes. Record what went well and what did not. You may even consider asking for feedback on the class and keep a tally to identify easily consumed and highly effective techniques. Include context with your journaling and use the contexts as a spring board for ideas to reach new segments of your population. As teachers, we are challenged to adapt to multiple contexts and what works with one type of demographic might help another.
6) Take class to watch the techniques and teaching styles of as many teachers as you can. They might give you ideas that can change your perspective on a technique or sequence. Their experiences can help make great inroads and see things you might have otherwise missed.
I hope you find these suggestions useful to bringing some clarity to your and your students’ blind spots. What techniques have you found to help uncover and eliminate blind spots? Please share in the comments below and Happy Rolling!
Very helpful suggestions…journaling and helping students keep their focus broad in terms of exploring other (“silent”) areas of their bodies that may be contributing to the area(s) that are exhibiting pain.
Loved the reminder to educate clients on the following, “just because one part of their body is hurting, that doesn’t mean that’s the only part of their body that needs care.” I, too, found relief in my neck my rolling along the pecs! So great!
Also appreciate the benefit of getting feedback on what worked and what they are looking forward to next time!!
Thanks for your article!
I will incorporate some: skin rolling, light pin and spin, and gentle ball plow in the beginning of my self-care routine & class to ease into the rolling. Great idea with the journaling to investigate the blindspots with more awareness.
Fantastic idea for journaling – both in our own practice and also for therapy ball exercises done in class to create more and more intelligent classes, exercises and sequencing 🙂
Thanks for the journal idea! I’m starting it right away for the yoga classes I follow to get to know my body better- to be the student of my body- and identify where to roll with the balls. Keeping history is important to be able to explain later to your students or understand where the issues could lie. A couple of years ago, I did keep a journal of changes in my body following physiotherapy and osteopathy sessions, yoga practice and rolling YTUP balls and how I finally erased pain in my lower back.
Thank you for all the advice on how to introduce rolling and the therapy balls to our students. I like the idea of taking it to the wall and considering the use of alpha balls. Is there a reason for using the therapy balls at the beginning of class vs. the cooling down portion of a class near the end?
Thanks for all your tips on how to introduce the therapy balls and rolling to our students. I like your advice about starting on the wall or with the alpha balls. I think introducing rolling to different parts of the body over a series of classes will help students uncover their blind spots. Lots of good advice here. Thank you!
It’s a great idea to keep a journal of my personal rolling sessions and suggest for your students to do the same. It will give you a bigger picture of what your body blindspots are as well as what you need to focus on in your next session. Also, thank you for pointing out how to modify the rolling techniques by using larger balls or taking it to the wall.
My mom has fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and has been concerned that the ball rolling will be too painful for her to manage or make a difference. So I REALLY appreciate the tip around introducing simple and very gentle practices for special populations, such as my mom. Just having her experiment with the texture and grip to start with will go a long way in bringing her to trust and feel safe. Thank you!
Thank you for the reminder to start out slow – and that just focusing on the area of pain may not in fact relieve the pain at ALL!
This is a great reminder that journaling is key to developing ones skills as a teacher. I am presently in my Teacher Training Level 1 Certification, and you mentioned great tools that I can immediately start using. I also LOVE the concept of the blind spot. I have recently encountered the same pain in my neck and my massage therapist worked on my pectoralis minor to alleviate this tension. It definitely worked!!! I will definitely inform my students that sometimes other areas in our bodies need care over the area that it is pain, because everything is connected.
I love the idea of keeping a journal. Sometimes I leave class is a post roll haze. Taking a few minutes to capture what I experienced will help me recall what I felt, where I felt it . This will help me with my understanding of my blind spots, and give me another tool to keep them out in the open.
Keep a rolling journal- that is genius!
I liked the journal idea as well! I think that we forget how useful notes are when taking a class and experiencing something that you liked. I always think, “I’ll remember that,” and then the minute I get home, it’s gone. This is very useful, thank you!
Great suggestions. Love the journal idea.
Great advice for us teachers! I will definitely try keeping a rolling journal., like you suggest. Since I have a daily yoga practice which I record in a diary, I can just add the rolling self care there! Just hasn’t occurred to me. I also really agree with your first point, finding the true cause or culprit can be difficult but what an opportunity to learn! Every time I am allowed to work with someone in pain, I am in awe about what I get to learn from this person and body! Thank you for sharing! Sandy