This body therapy uses balls to restore your alignment and prevent injury
By now you're probably aware of the many benefits of foam rolling: increased flexibility, improved blood circulation through fascia and muscles, the breaking down of scar tissue—just to name a few. But there's another version of body rolling that's been around for more than 30 years! Ever heard of Yamuna? Neither had I. So when I walked by its flagship studio located in the heart of Manhattan's West Village, I had to learn more.
Upon entering the very well-lit studio, it looked like a slightly eerie child's bedroom. A bed on the back wall (which I later found out was temporarily set up for a video shoot of Yamuna's newest work: In Bed With Yamuna), a mirror and cubby holes on the others, ropes and contraptions hanging from the ceilings, mats on the floor, all different sizes of balls laying around… and a skeleton model hanging in the corner to confuse me even more.
But once I got down to business, the whole idea made sense. Using three different sized balls, I followed the instructor as she demonstrated how to massage, prod, stretch, and roll my body out to produce feelings of yoga euphoria and jellyfish limbs. The movements were strategic, aligning with my muscles and ligaments in a way that only three little balls could manage. As Yael, an employee of the studio, explains, "Whereas the foam roller treats the body as one whole muscle, the ball is three dimensional and is muscle specific, allowing you to get in and around the joint (ie. hip and shoulder), and separate each vertebra, creating space."
More than 30 years ago, yogini Yamuna Zake suffered from physical injuries that would not heal. Three days after her daughter was born, her left hip gave out—she actually heard the bones separate! Zake tried orthopedics, chiropractic, acupuncture, and other healing systems for two months, but when none of them worked, she decided to find her own solution. And she did! What resulted is now the core of what Yamuna is all about: Yamuna® Body Logic. I learned it involved more than just rolling out the body—the idea of the practice is to prevent injuries and heal areas of the body that experience the most wear and tear.
Yamuna has applied her body rolling science to many different forms of movement and all different parts of the body (even the face!). The beginners body rolling class (the one I tried) is a perfect way to introduce you to exactly what the form is all about. However, as the instructor said, it's important to give it more than just one shot. Getting all the benefits from this therapy will take more than just popping in for one class. My personal favorite, Foot Fitness, is just 15 minutes of foot prodding that left my feet feeling strong, grounded, and happier than ever. Check out the Yamuna blog to learn some techniques for rolling out your feet and see demonstration videos from Yamuna herself!
"Don't you find it interesting that present standards of fitness do not teach people the downside of any intense activity nor do they offer solutions once you break down? People need to have a fitness program and a Body Sustainability program side by side so they can keep doing what they love," says Yael.
Truth. I might just be back for more.
Increased range of motion
Improved alignment in all parts of the body
Increased muscle tone
Increased organ function
Different Types of Yamuna:
Yamuna® Body Logic – Master Work
Yamuna® Body Rolling
Yamuna® Foot Fitness
Yamuna® Face Saver
YBR® Hands-on Table Treatment