How to Incorporate a Foam Roller Into Your Yoga Practice
Enhance Your Planks
Placing a foam roller on your thigh above your knee can be a great way to build strength in all types of planks and side planks while releasing your IT bands. For more stability and the ability to roll, place your top foot on the ground in front of your back knee.
Boost Your Upward Facing Dog
Release your quads and control the depth of your back bend using a foam roller in upward facing dog. Be sure the foam roller is connecting to your thighs, not your knees.
Open Your Thoracic Spine
Open your thoracic spine by doing a supported fish pose modification on a foam roller. Take a few crunches to mobilize the spine while your bra line rests on the foam roller and then allow your head to drop back, while supported by your hands. It'll go a long way to improve thoracic spine mobility. (Pro tip: There is a roller called a Mobil-izer that is specifically made for this body part; it is not as wide as the standard one.)
Get One Step Closer to Your Arm Balances
Use the foam roll to stand on while you set up for crow, side crow, or any other arm balance where height gives you a head start. The instability of the roll takes you one step closer to being able to trust your hands with all of your weight.
Use As a Bolster
A foam roller can be used in place of a bolster for any pose that calls for one. Our favorite: reclining goddess pose (pictured). How to: While seated, place the foam roll lengthwise behind your sitz bones and gently lie back so your upper back and head are supported by the foam roller. Once comfortable, place feet together and knees apart, and allow arms to relax on either side of you. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths.
Challenge Your Balance
Take any standing pose to the next level of difficulty by doing it on a foam roller. You will need all of your focus and your core. Try starting close to a wall and on two feet. As you get comfortable, try single-leg balancing poses and move away from the wall.
Strengthen Your Core
Get a full-body, mega-core workout by taking plank pose with the tops of your feet on the foam roll. Roll your feet to your hands and back as many times as you physically can. This will also help tremendously with inversions and arm balances.
Ease Into Your Savasana
Ease into your Savasana without your lower back tensing up. While seated with your legs long in front of you and just a bit apart, place the foam roller under your knees. Gently lie down on your back, allowing your legs to separate with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms on either side of you. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths, or as long as you like.