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Body Rolling is a therapeutic exercise technique that I came across six years ago and have practiced at the studio, to one degree or another, for several years during its development. Yet, it was my latest journey to NYC that renewed my interest in Body Rolling. Here is what I have to share about it and its creator, Yamuna Zake, who I first met in 1996. I had just returned from a winter break in Hawaii, where I met a student of Yamunaís who turned me on to her body work. It was this meeting that sparked my interest and prompted me to set out and find the inventor of this therapeutic modality; I found her in the village in NYC.
Body Logic & Body Rolling are two forms of therapeutic body work that Yamuna Zake pioneered in an effort to help heal her dislocated pelvis, after the birth of her daughter, Yael. The main thrust of her work is focused on stimulating bone to renew its vitality as well as to help strengthen its relationship to muscle. This body of work is for those of us with tight ropey muscles, aches and pains from athletic activity, alignment stress and all others who are just looking to achieve greater mind/body connection because it works you to the bone. Itís not stressful, itís stimulating. Itís not complicated, itís liberating. Itís not expensive, either, which means you can learn the how-toís in a private session or a workshop setting.
Yamunaís original body of work, Body Logic, is hands on body work similar to a Rolfing. However, Body Logic is much more specific to stimulating bone and much less invasive to the soft tissue of the body.
Her most recent body of work, Body Rolling, is body work using a small ball (4 different size balls and foot savers, which Yamuna created herself) to compress and stimulate bone. Body Rolling is an outgrowth of Body Logic. Its goal is to recreate the results and effectiveness of a hands on Body Logic Session. In June, I dedicated nine days to visit with Yamuna, along with 20 other body work practitioners to learn the art of Body Rolling. I say "art" because, like everything which usually ends up being worth while for you, it takes a certain amount of commitment, practice and self awareness to get rolling...
For nine days we worked six to seven hours daily, devoting our time to the study of the many body lines which can be worked on the ball. We learned patterns of how to work the body to create space and new life in areas such as the spine, chest pelvis and knee joints, ankles and feet. While rolling you begin to reawaken places in your body that you either thought died long ago or you discover areas that you never knew existed.
The beauty of this work is that it allows you to get into small joint spaces and stimulate areas that are usually compressed, creating more space, integrity and vitality. Ball Sessions are either done in private with a practitioner who can passively traction your body using the ball or in a group setting where you learn active patterns for self practice, either way leaves you feeling as though you just had a great massage.
Yamuna Zake is a one-of-a-kind, self-educated body worker who says the "the face lift begins in the chest and ribcage area." She says that when people, some of whom have had several face lifts, come to her for help with posture and alignment problems, it is ultimately determined that the need to have plastic surgery is due to poor alignment. She claims that habitual bad posture patterns, such as a slumping chest and a shortened spine, cause the face and neck to sink towards the chest. The chest muscles to sink into the belly... And so on and so on.
Does this sound like your aging body?
For those just approaching our mid forties, special attention to the effects of gravity and sagging posture are something worth giving attention to, says Zake. Preventing aging has a lot to do with stimulating lines of energy in the body at the level of the bone, which gives lift to the body, inspiration to the spirit and creates endless vitality.
Zake herself has been a practitioner of Yoga for over 25 years. Her body, energy and vitality are a testament to her 50 years and to her philosophy.
After 9 days of rolling on the ball my body felt relaxed, yet energized. My muscles felt that good kind of sore which you get from a good workout and I had more tone in my arms and abs.
So here it is... I saved the best for last. Body Rolling develops balance and control in your core muscles, just like Pilates, provides the release of a great massage and the mind/body awareness of meditation.
Sound too good to be true?
I hope you will join me to explore Body Rolling and its benefits.
- Janine Galati, Director - Alternative Health and Fitness Concepts®
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